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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Yellowstone's Picture Perfect Photo Safari

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

One of the tours offered through Yellowstone National Park Lodges was the "Picture Perfect Photo Safari". After five days of warm and beautiful weather, the safari started at 5:45 AM with a brisk temperature of 36 degrees and chances of snow. As the day progressed, the weather turned from rain into full blown snow with some of the largest flakes we have seen. There were a few minutes of no precipitation where we could get outside the vehicle and take pictures.

The tour originated at the Old Faithful Inn which was a short walk across the parking lot from where we were staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge.

Our mode of transportation was a historic 1936 Yellow Bus named Cripple Creek. Eric, a retired policeman and volunteer fire fighter, was our driver/guide. He provided wonderful information during our drive. Eric told us how the people in the park celebrate Christmas on August 25th. There is a scrawny pine tree growing out of the rock in the middle of a fast moving cold river. Some how some way the tree is decorated with ornaments. It is against park rules, however, to do this. A park ranger then has to take down the ornaments. It is tradition to leave a couple cases of beer for the ranger's effort.

The roof was canvas. There were 10 of us plus our guide, Eric. There were woolen blankets to keep us warm, as the heater did not warm the entire bus.

The windshield wiper on the driver's side broke off when we were only a few miles away from The Inn. Eric decided he could see enough, so we continued on with our adventure.


There is a story with this picture. We could hear a rumbling sound. Then, rocks and dead tree logs slid down the hillside.

The bison did not care if it rained or snowed.

You certainly can tell it was cold! Check his breath!

Spent some time watching and photographing this bison. Interesting discussion on what happens to injured animals in the park. It is survival of the fittest!

The front right leg looked to be injured. The bison was either attacked or hit by a vehicle.

The poor animal made quite a few attempts to stand.

The bison would rest and then attempt to stand again. For its survival, it must be able to move to search for food.

Heading toward Gibbon Falls, we came across a small herd of bison.

Snow starting to taper off.

The two bison butting heads. Each wanted to rub against the tree.

Gibbon Falls has a drop of approximately 84ft. The falls are located roadside.

We stopped for a snack, blueberry muffins and an assortment of drinks, a couple hours into the trip.

I didn't take a picture of the snacks but, instead, I took pictures of the snow melting off the nearby pines.

Yellowstone is home to over 70 species of birds.

Canadian Goose

Mountain Bluebird

Loved the rings the trumpeter swan made!

A few steps to the right and the color of the water changed from black to silver.

Firehole Canyon Drive was the next stop. The Firehole Canyon Drive is a hidden gem among the pine trees. This 2 mile one-way drive took us through the beautiful canyon where the Firehole River flows, past Firehole Falls, and up to a swimming area. Firehole Falls is a 40 foot waterfall carving its way into the hard rhyolitic rock that the canyon is made of.

Climbed back up the hill and moved over a few yards. Wondered how this hole was carved out.

I could hear a bird but it took a few minutes to locate it as the robin was so well camouflaged against the rocks and the reddish brown decaying pine needles.

As we drove back toward the Old Faithful Inn, the weather improved. Able to take the best bison pictures of the day.

An elk is grazing across the river.

A raised tail means the bison is getting ready to poop or it is anxious.

A bird is hitching a ride.

The bison is annoyed with the bird.

With a quick flick of its head, the bison was rid of the bird.

The fur looks so soft.

"Bobby Sock" lodge-pole pines died from drowning. The dead trees soak up the mineral laden water. When the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind, turning the lower portion of the trees white.

I wish I had time to set up my tripod and take these pictures. Unfortunately, I had to roll down the crank window and take the pictures from the bus. Off in the distance, we could see what we believe was a coyote eating his kill, high upon a rock.

It would eat for a minute or so and then stop, listen and look around. Once it felt safe, it went back to eating.

Even though it was not the best weather, it was still a fun experience!

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