Yellowstone Day 2 Montana 2014 - Part VI

In which Tina and Adam curse Max and then thank him, while they discover the true meaning of oh-dark-thirty.

Our good friend Max Waugh is a wildlife photographer and spends part of each year in and around Yellowstone National Park. We asked hime to give us some advice on visiting the park. He said he would under the condition that we promised to get up early enough to go see wildlife. In other words, early enough to drive all the way across the park by dawn.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

At some god awful time that had a 3 in the hours spot, my iPhone started playing "strum" (which I can no longer hear without breaking into a cold sweat) and we both started shouting "$#% YOU MAX! !#@%$ YOUUUU!"

Dawn

About an hour later.

Lamar Valley

Thanks Max.

We didn't get to see any bears or anything, but we got to the Lamar Valley just at dawn and Tina spotted a herd of Buffalo up on the hill and we were watching them with binoculars and taking pictures. A minute or so later, Tina taps me on the shoulder...

"Um. Turn around."

No rollerskating allowed.

We were 100 feet or less from a herd 2-3x the size just ambling down the road right toward us.

Seriously. Thanks Max.

We saw a variety of other animals including a few antelope, and a quartet of coyote pups chasing each other around a big rock up on the hill.

Our next stop...Trout Lake.

Positively teeming with otters.

We hiked up the lake with the pipe dream that we would see herd? swarms? Ah...ROMP! of otters. Well it was a bit late in the season and there were no otters. There was a duck that kept not being an otter, but I'm not going to put picture of the little jerk here. It will only encourage him.

We did see amazing views, beautiful wildflowers and lots of little ground squirrels.

We then left the park on the northeast corner to check out Silver Gate and the Beartooth Highway. We drove out to the second pas on the highway and marveled at the beautiful scenery.

Silver Gate

Looking back at the photos, I don't believe it. It looks made up. If you're going to have fancy looking nature like this, you have to have a more subtle hand, or no one is going to buy it.

Beartooth Range

Next we went back into the park and headed to Mammoth Hot Springs. Ugh. Every place has got to have a $#!++y part and this is Yellowstone's. It was so crowded and gridlocked it took us over an hour to not find a parking spot (I had to drive around while Tina ran to the bathroom). We eventually just left. I snapped these shots of the Terraces and this elk on the hotel's lawn.

We headed back down to the western side and the geyser basins. Max had given us the tip that if we wanted to see the Grand Prismatic Spring properly we needed to go past it to the Fairy Falls hike and climb up an escarpment on that trail to see it from above.

Sing along everyone..."Thanks Max!"

Grand Prismatic Springs

Here's some of my Photoshop handiwork.

Next we went to the Artist Paint Pots and saw more amazing thermal features. I've always liked the slopping mudpots (that's a geological term).

I get extra-credit from my boss if I take pictures of squirrel-lids (don't tell the dog).

We had dinner at the Old Faithful Inn and turned in after an eighteen hour day. Thanks #$% Max! :-)

Photos ©2014 Adam B. Colby

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