Stayed at the Mammoth Hot Springs Campground in Yellowstone for 5 days. Got there around 11:30 a.m. and got a good spot. It filled up shortly thereafter. Yellowstone was really crowded. Read where attendance was breaking records. Saw license plates from all over the U.S., as well as lots of foreign tourists. Right after I got settled I drove towards the Canyon Village area. Driving anywhere in the middle of the afternoon is a mistake. The road from Mammoth through the Tower-Roosevelt area and Canyon Village is narrow and uneven and to drive it when it is really congested is bad. People are sightseeing and cross over the double yellow lines a lot. After this experience, just went out early in the morning.
Top picture: The upper Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. The clouds provided good lighting.
Second picture: There are lots of waterfalls in Yellowstone. I just visited the Lower Falls in the Canyon Village area. First took a trail down to the right side of the falls in the picture. From there I could see stairs going down the side of a mountain on the other side of the falls.
The Canyon Village area would be a good place to stay. There are paved trails along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You are also close to Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley that are supposed to have lots of wildlife.
Top picture: What you are warned not to do, get close to wildlife…especially a grizzly bear! Park authorities had not arrived here yet. They use a lot of manpower to keep people at a certain distance from animals. In Mammoth Hot Springs the elk know they are protected and go where they want. At least one park employee follows them and puts out yellow cones that people are not supposed to cross. Passed one young black bear eating grass by the road. Across from him a park ranger in full dress uniform (hat and gloves) was waving to keep traffic going. Would love to have gotten a picture of him and the bear, but there was no place to stop.
The bull on the left appeared to be the head bull. He went around checking on a small herd by a pond and grunted the whole time. You could not really see the details of his face because of the fur, just heard continuous grunting.
The tail end of a coyote near Canyon Village.
Birds seen near my campsite. A red-breasted nuthatch (top) and a Clark’s nutcracker. There was a small flock of the Clark’s nutcrackers. They are the first ones I’ve ever seen.
Getting here: From Glacier National Park went back to Fort Benton, near Great Falls, to wait out a rain storm. From there, drove through Helena, and stayed one night at a free campground in the Canyon Ferry area. Then stayed two days at the Missouri Headwaters State Park where three rivers join to form the Missouri River. It is a good birding spot. Both at Fort Benton and the State Park, saw lots of cedar waxwings, gray catbirds, and osprey. One time I thought a cat was in a marsh, only to find it was a catbird. That’s the only time one has fooled me.
Cedar waxwing fledgling in Fort Benton. Note the orange tail feathers instead of the yellow that an adult has.
A chickadee on a bulrush at Missouri Headwaters State Park.
Heard sandhill cranes both at Missouri Headwaters State Park and Yellowstone, but never saw them.
Below: Campsite at Mammoth Hot Springs. Rain threatened several times, but only got a few sprinkles. Was sad to leave Yellowstone, but I’ll be back.