A few quick facts:
- Created in 1872 it was the first national park in the US, and the world.
- At 3,500 square miles it is about 4 times the size of the Lake District
- It sits on what was once the biggest volcano in North America and acts like a giant deep freeze in winter
- Its northern mountain ranges and valleys are (pretty much accurately as it turns out) described as the 'Serengeti of North America'
(WARNING: Look away now if you aren't interested in detailed nerdy wildlife spotting descriptions, read on if you love knowing how to tell bison boys from bison girls...)
The first afternoon
|What are they eating up there?|
|He followed in our footsteps|
Mark was only allowed about 5 minutes to drink coffee when we checked into the hotel in case we missed any other wildlife action. But as we'd be leaving straight after our wildlife tour we thought we should check out one of the parks 'thermal features' (it has half of all the world's geysers, hot springs, mud pools etc). The terrace of springs right by the hotel was awesome, huge clouds of steam in the cold air and funky thermophile bacteria coating everything in pyschadelic colours...
Then it was back on the wildlife tour. Our next encounter was with a group of bison, photos later. If you've seen buffalo in Africa, think of something bigger, shaggier and with a huge shoulder hump comprised not of muscle but bony fins extending up from the spine. The hump helps them sway their huge heads through the snow to clear patches to get at the grass underneath. Seeing them in the falling snow was magic.
|Look hard and you'll see him centre left|
|A much better, but not mine, piccie|
to be continued....