Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 23, 2017

Yellowstone's southern park sister, Grand Teton, is noted for its spectacular mountains and sparkling lakes. The sky is normally a deeper blue, but the smoke from fires in Yellowstone polluted the air this day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 16, 2017

No trip to Yellowstone would be complete without at least one sighting of a bison. This one's resting in a meadow, perhaps because he realized that snow was coming and wanted to conserve his energy.

Did you know that not only is the bison the dominant design on Wyoming's state flag, but it was recently declared the national mammal of the United States?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 9, 2017

Summer and early fall are fire season in Yellowstone. If you're old enough, you may recall the fires of 1988 which destroyed a huge portion of the park and created an uproar when the flames approached iconic parts of the park.

The dead trees that you see in the middle ground are evidence of that fire, but -- as you can see from the amount of new growth -- new trees have grown, creating a reminder that while fire is destructive, it can also benefit forests by providing opportunities for new trees.

Did you know that some trees are so well prepared for fires that they produce two types of seeds, one of which germinates only after the heat of a fire opens the shell? Those seeds are called serotinous.  (Even though spell checker is protesting, that's the correct spelling.)

Notice the smoke hovering over the hills in the background. Yes, it's yet another fire, although fortunately not one of the magnitude of the '88 fires.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 2, 2017

When most people -- myself included -- think of Yellowstone National Park, we focus on the thermal features. No doubt about it, those are dramatic and unforgettable, but there's more to the park than geysers, hot springs, and mud pots.

The wildlife are another attraction. Who can forget their first sight of an elk, a moose, or a bison? What about the elusive wolves, whose reintroduction to the park was so controversial? And then there are the coyotes, the swans, the otters ... the list is much too long for this blog post.

It was a warmer than normal day in September when this picture was taken, which is why the elk were taking advantage of the cool river. You'll see that one even appears to be lying down in the water. But this is Yellowstone, where the weather can change rapidly. The next day, we had snow!

I hope you'll return next week for more of Yellowstone's attractions.