We were looking for a trip in January, and COVID basically limited us to domestic trips. So when the opportunity came up to visit Yellowstone, which neither of us had visited before, we jumped on it. We reviewed the science again and concluded that risk from chasing wildlife was acceptable. So armed with our masks, our eyeball 6 foot ruler and lots of hand sanitizer, we headed north to Yellowstone.
While Yellowstone is one of the most popular National Parks in the country and well known for its crowds, visitorship in the winter is far less, no doubt due to its low temperatures. We saw temperatures of 20 degrees, as the high for the trip!
We started our trip looking for two iconic Yellowstone wildlife, bison and wolves. We first saw numerous bison (buffalo in Africa and Asia).
While looking for wolves we frequently came across their ‘cousin’ the coyotes, who were both abundant and sometimes close.
Unfortunately the wolves were not as abundant nor close. These wolves were more than half a mile away, or one pixel shots as we like to say.
We got video of some closer wolves:
Yellowstone is well known for its hydrothermal activity. Its steam vents were all over the place
putting pure hot water into air, which when the temperature is in the teens or twenties supercools but does not freeze until it touches something, like a tree. Then it forms beautiful rime ice.
and leads to wonderful landscapes like this
We were lucky enough to have snow a couple of the days we were in the park. The new fallen snow made Yellowstone a winter wonderland
The most famous geothermal feature of Yellowstone is Old Faithful. Since this was our first time to Yellowstone, we of course had to visit it. One advantage of going mid-winter was that we were one of only two groups watching it erupt, which frankly was underwhelming.
and as sign of the times, the signs warned people not to stay away from the geyser but from each other.
= = = = = >
Since we were in a cold weather mind set, and packed for sub freezing weather, we decided our next trip was a return to Homer, Alaska to photograph the majestic bald eagles there. See our report here.