Back to May 25th (Pt. 1)

Motor Coach Tour 2011
Wednesday, May 25th (Part 2)
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Sign Northeast Gate

We are at the Northeast Entrance into Yellowstone National Park. I have created several maps to show what the pack looks like and the roads we followed. Due to the size of these it is not practical to build ones with the routes we took. I will do my best to describe where we are as we progress. Today is the trickiest one, it gets simpler from here. This first map shows almost the entire northern half park. The ones on the next couple of pages show only sections, mainly on the western side of the park, and are somewhat bigger and probably easier to read. The gate we are entering at is just below this text in the upper right side on the green line that marks the park boundary. So here we go.....

Map May 25 North

As you can see there are not too many roads. The route we follow from now until lunch follows the road from the Northeast Entrance to the junction at Tower-Roosevelt and then along the northern road to Mammoth Hot Springs.

Here are some pictures taken along this northern section of today's journey......

Wildlife 1 Wildlife 2
Elk with some window reflections.
Bison
Wildlife Bison 2 Wildlife Bison 3
and more Bison
and even more Bison
Bison Jam 1 Bison Jam 1-2
The first of our Bison Jams. Cities have traffic jams, in Yellowstone you have Bison Jams. A traffic jam caused by Bison on the road. This one looked at us and if it could talk it probably would have said, "You want me to do what?"
Bison Jam 1-3 Bighorn Sheep
They finally decided to cross the road.
Note: The dark part at the top of the picture is a tinted section on the upper part of the coaches windshield. You will see it from time to time. I did try to not take through it but sometimes it was not possible to get the picture any other way.
Bighorn sheep, I think.
Bighorn Sheep 2 Bison
More Bighorn sheep.
This Bison calf was looking for food. One problem though, this adult is a male Bison. Shortly after I took this picture the male turned and violently pushed the calf away.
Bison Jam 2-1 Bison Jam 3-1
Bison Jam #2 for today.
Bison Jam #3.
Bison Jam 3-2 Bison
They eventually turned off the road and headed away, the dominate female in the lead.
Many more Bison here.
Turd More Bison
One must watch where one walks in Yellowstone or one might regret it.
More Bison. We saw many more Bison than any other type of wildlife during this trip.
Scenery 1 Mammoth 1
Damage from a forest fire some years ago. This is the road from Tower-Roosevelt that we arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs on.

Mammoth Hot Springs was our first stop in Yellowstone. It is the parks headquarters and one of the two hotels we will be staying in is located here, but that is tomorrow night. Here is a map of the Mammoth Hot Springs area.

Mammoth Hot Springs Map

In this map we came along the road that is labelled from Tower-Roosevelt in the lower right of the map. We had our lunch where the knife and fork symbol is. In the next group of pictures most of the close-up elk pictures are taken in the area around the Albright Visitor Center and the field across the road from it. Here are some pictures taken in Mammoth today.

Elk 1 Pregnent Elk 1
An Elk with a new born baby. You can just see the baby's slightly brown colour in the centre of the picture.
A very pregnant elk. Several people said that they could see the baby moving inside. When we returned the next day some of the locals told us the baby had been born late this day and then both mother and baby disappeared shortly thereafter.
Elk 3 Elk 4
The elk with the baby. You cannot see the baby in this picture but it is there on moms left side.
More elk just laying around enjoying the nice weather.
Today anyway!
Elk 5 Mammoth Scenery 1
A close up of the left elk in the previous picture.
The so called Hot Springs area of Mammoth known as the Lower Terraces and Upper Terraces. The Hot springs are not so hot any more as they once were. The road we leave on is the one in the foreground and goes in front of those Terraces. See the map below.

Mammoth Map

After lunch we departed Mammoth Hot Springs using the road that goes off the lower left of the Mammoth map above labelled "To Old Faithful via Norris and Madison". On the larger map it is the southbound road out of Mammoth, down the west side of the map to Norris. We turned east on the road that goes across the bottom of the map and headed to Canyon Village. To save you going up to look (if you wanted to), here is the map again.

Yellowstone North map

We did not stop along the north/south road as it was to be done tomorrow when we came back up this way. Here are some pictures along this section most of which are wildlife of one type or another.

Bison Jam 4-1 Bison Jam 4-2
Bison Jam #4
He (or she, not sure which) is just meandering along.
Bison jam 4-3 Bison Jam 4-4
Almost off, but changed his/her mind
Proper driving etiquette is to stay behind the bison until it leaves the road on its own. It is illegal to pass them except in exceptional circumstances.
Bison Jam 4-5 Bison Jam 4-6
Still meandering, but at least he is in the other lane now so the cars can carefully pass him.
After almost 10 minutes of waiting we finally were able (even if we were not supposed to) pass him (or her) and continue on our way.
Bear 1 Bear 2
A bit further down the road we encountered this fellow. He was a long way off so we were able to stop and get out to take a few pictures.
Looking for food we thought.
Bear 2A Bear 3
This is the original picture of the previous one above right. This will give you some idea of how far he was away. This was taken with an 80-200mm zoom lens set at 200mm.
Looks like he found something interesting.
Bison By Road Bison Jam 5
Bison by the road. I think there may have been an undocumented Bison Jam associated with this herd as well.
Bison Jam #5. This one went on for a long time as well. I believe this was the last one we encountered on this day.

Our next stop (our afternoon "potty" break) was the Canyon Village Visitors Center. This is one of the few places that you can actually buy anything in the park. Not that it is anything very exciting but here is a picture of it for what it is worth.

Canyon Village Visitor Center

The next stop, which is near by, is one of (if not the) most scenic in the entire park.

Here is a map of this area.
We came across the road on the upper left labelled "To Norris". The next stop is at Artist Point for a view of the Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.

Canyon Village Map

To get to Artist Point one follows the road to the lower left corner of the map and then follows South Rim Drive.

Here is what you see from Artist Point. It may give you some idea why it is called Artist Point.

Lower Falls Large

Lower Falls Potrait

Me and Lower Falls Me 2
Who is this guy????
Oh, its him!

Me 3

One more just in case you are not sure!!!!
Picture taken with my camera by Chris, our Aussie fellow.

It is now 4:00PM and we still have a ways to go to get to our overnight stop at the Old Faithful Inn. You can guess, I am sure, where that is located. Here is the southern half of the park map to show you the rest of today's trip.

May 25th South map

In the upper right corner of the map you can see Canyon Village with its label disappearing of the side of the map. We follow the road south from there down toward Yellowstone Lake. If we had come into the park where Tour Director Jack had wanted to, we would have come along the road that joins the circle road near Lake Village. We continued along the shore of the completely frozen lake to West Thumb and then continued west along the bottom of the circle to Old Faithful. There are not many pictures along this section but there are a few worth seeing so here they are.

Yellowstone Lake 1
One of the various US mountain ranges that surround Yellowstone Park taken across the still completely frozen Yellowstone Lake.
This is a completely landlocked small lake taken from an overlook on the road heading to Old Faithful. In the distance is Yellowstone Lake.

Snow along Road

This gives you some idea of the snow that was still in the park the last week in May.
We are nearing some of the highest altitude above sea level sections of the park.

Our arrival in the Old Faithful area was at approximately 5:30PM. Here is a map of the Old Faithful area. We came up the road in red from the bottom of the map and off at the exit.

Old Faithful Map

We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn. The centre part was built in the 1904 with additions in the 1910's and 20's. It has been somewhat modernized since then. This is quite a place as you will see.

OFF Inn 4 View from OFF 5
The main building from across the parking lot.
Geysers all around.
View from OFFI 3 OFFI Outside 2
I believe this is Geyser Hill.
A closer view of the main building.
OFFI Outside  6 OFFI Outside 7
Part of the sections added later and somewhat modernized. My room was in the section on the far right at the back on the other side of the second floor.
Still snow in the shadier areas.
OFFI Outside 1 OFFI Front Entrance
What everyone comes here to see, Old Faithful steaming away not from the main entrance to the Inn which is on the right.
The main entrance.
OFFI Inside 6 OFFI Inside 3
When you go in this is what you see. Note: it is darker in here than it looks in these pictures. Fairly long exposures were required to get these pictures so the people look like they are whizzing by.
Taken from the back of the lobby looking towards the main entrance (which is in the lower right corner of the picture) to the far right of the fireplace as seen in the previous picture. It is all built of logs. Each one of the "Y" supports was personally selected by the architect we were told.
OFFI Inside 5 OFFI Inside 4
More of the unique lobby. You can see the red front entrance door is now in the lower left centre.
The final view of the lobby. The entrance is now out of the picture to the bottom left. The reception desk is at the bottom right.

In the bottom two pictures above you can see what looks like a little house way up near the roof in the upper left and centre of the two images. This is called the Crows Nest. Here is a picture of some information about it.

Crows Nest Description

I am sure I do not need to tell you what people come to Old Faithful to see, now do I. So here in Quicktime and Flash formats is Old Faithful erupting. There is sound but you really cannot hear the geyser because I was too far from it. The sound is a throaty rumble that is hard to hear even when you are closer to it, as I found out the next day. Running Time is about 3:35.

Quicktime Version

After arriving and finding the room, which was way out in the west end of the hotel, I came back and took the video above. Shortly after that I had dinner with several of our tour group in the restaurant. You will see a picture of the restaurant, which is located directly behind the large fireplace in the lobby, on tomorrows page. After dinner I took most of the still pictures you see above, most of which were taken around 8:30PM. After checking out the souvenir shop in the Inn I went to my room and to bed. There is not much else to do as there are no TVs, radios, or internet here. They want you to enjoy the park experience without all the outside issues. It was possible, but not easy, to get a weak cell phone signal here I was told.

Tomorrow we go up the west side of the park ending up back in Mammoth Hot Springs for the night.

May 25 finally ends, on to May 26th.....

Back to May 25th (Pt. 1)

Created: August 10th through 13th, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 11:10 AM