Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Grizly & Wolf Discovery Center, Our First Trip Into Yellowstone and The Money Shot

Today was a beautiful late summer day here in Yellowstone.  The temperatures were autumn like and the day was sunny.  We started by going back to the Grizly & Wolf Discovery Center in the town of West Yellowstone.  This is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation dedicated to research and education about grizzly bear and wolves in Yellowstone National Park.  The bears living here were destined to be put down.  The wolves were acquired as pups.  I didn't think we'd get many close up photos of bears and wolves in the park, so here are a couple.

The attendants at the Discovery Center hide fruit and nuts in piles of branches and rocks to keep the bears interested in finding their food.   We saw one grizzly flip over a boulder larger than a bowling ball with its nose.

The Center tests garbage containers with resident bears who are willing to try to obtain the foods placed inside.  Looks like the bears are doing a fine job.

After driving for less than 10 minutes into the park I took this photo of surrounding snow-capped mountains.

We learned from our trip to Yosemite this spring that whenever traffic on park roads slows down that  there is usually wildlife nearby to view.  This holds true for Yellowstone as well.  After 30 or 40 minutes of driving we were alongside a large and long meadow in which we saw quite a few elk.

When you see two large bull elk this close together you know it is not to discuss the weather.

These fine ladies were probably uppermost in their minds.

We could hear the sound of antlers colliding with a loud cracking sound even from a couple hundred yards away. This was round one of a long fight, so we continued toward Old Faithful.

We waited less than 30 minutes for Old Faithful to erupt.  Pretty cool for a column of hot water. 

While waiting I spotted this little 3-footed chipmunk who was looking for a snack. He was a real crowd pleaser.

Then we headed over to see some unusual hydro-thermal features of the park.  We learned from one of the exhibits that Yellowstone Park sits atop an active volcano.  It is this pool of molten lava and heat and superheated waters that creates the amazing thermal activity in the park.

This is not snow.  It is dissolved minerals as are the yellow bands near the top center of the photo.

Sometimes we could feel the heat and smell the sulfur and other chemicals from these pools of hot water.

On the way home we saw this magnificent elk.  While he was close to the scene of this morning's battle, I don't think he was the loser because there are no marks on him.  We did, however, see the same herd over which the battle was waged and the big bull elk was resting in the grass with a herd of at least eight.

Stay tuned.


  1. Great picture of the elk battle! I was there at the wrong season to see that. I'm jealous. :)

  2. Nice pics George! Kathy & I were headed there when we got "recalled" back to Jacksonville because of a sick mother-in-law. Sigh. We hope to make another try next year. Have fun!
    Steve & Kathy Burnett

  3. Yellowstone is one of our most favorite places ever! I know you all will enjoy the wildlife and beauty of this great park. Have fun!!

    Great pics!
    MIke & Gerri (happytrails)