Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Forest & the Fire that birthed it
What can I say about Yellowstone that you haven’t heard before? Likely nothing, in all honesty, you just have to see it for yourself!
One thing I will say, is that this was actually our second time visiting the park, and somehow I managed to miss an entire lake (that covers the horizon from the shore) – a massive body of water that can be seen almost anywhere on the North-east side of the park. In our defense, the park is quite large, and we were camping on the South-eastern side of it the last time we came, but when we drove into Yellowstone National Park this time around and saw what looked to be an ocean in the middle of land-locked Wyoming, it’s safe to say we had to stop and see! Check out the photos from our trip to see what I mean (featured on the left and right).
Bull Elk, Yellowstone National Park
While I won’t get into great detail here – particularly since we already covered the impacts of climate change on these beautiful forests in an earlier post (here: https://suntexllc.com/on-the-road-again-next-stop-climate-change/) – I did find it odd that we were surrounded on this trip to Yellowstone by completely scorched forests.
It’s important to note here, that naturally occurring forest fires are part of the forest’s history, and even help new life to grow! What was odd this time however, was just how much of the west was covered in dead trees – both within Yellowstone National Park – and in the surrounding areas (we saw evidence of large forest fires in Washington, Montana, and Wyoming, and the smoke from the fires was prevalent throughout the month-long trip).
To learn more about the naturally occurring forest fires of Yellowstone National Park, check out the following link: https://serc.carleton.edu/NZFires/megafires/Yellowstone.html – which includes charts of forest fire activity in the park from the last century! If, like me, you’re curious to learn more about climate change in general in the Rockies, check out the following: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/how-do-the-rocky-mountains-influence-climate.html, and be sure to share your favorite insights in the comments below!
The Grand Tetons & the Moose!
Grand Teton National Park
Yes, this post is mainly dedicated to Yellowstone National Park, however I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our journey through Grand Teton National Park (https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm). This park borders Yellowstone, so seemingly, they shouldn’t be very different, right? Well, of course, if you said this you’d be wrong.
Yellowstone offers wildlife and dense forests of course – similar to the Grand Tetons – however the main attraction of Yellowstone are the hot geysers such as “Old Faithful” and the entire park is essentially sitting on one big volcano. The Grand Tetons do not have any geysers that I’m aware of, however what they feature is a staggering, jagged mountain range that can (usually) be seen for miles around – and with snake river winding through it, and the golden grassy knolls that waiver in front of it, it’s truly a site to see, setting it apart from any other park around.
Moose and Calf, Grand Teton National Park
Even though the camp ranger told us upon pulling in that they had seen black bears every single night perusing the mesquite fields just outside our campground, we did not see any while we were there. We did however see something we had been yearning to see all trip, and she and her calf were visible from the road to our campsite each night before sunset: a moose!
It’s hard to tell just how big she is from across the river, and because I’m not a complete moron, I wanted to be sure and respect her boundaries, however given her stature from even 100 yards or so away, it’s obvious she is a big girl! We were absolutely mesmerized by her and her calf, and stood there taking pictures for a long time before leaving her to peacefully finish dinner. While I can’t be certain, I would bet that she and her ‘little one’ are still there, just outside of the Grand Teton campsite, munching on brush and awaiting the next group of campers to come gawking. If you happen to see her, tell her I said hello, and Bon Apetite!