Rocky Mountain Gold – Day 4 – Yellowstone National Park

Day 4 began much as day 3 had ended – heavy cloud cover and rain. Undaunted we set off for the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Hayden Valley. We knew that both offer excellent photo opportunities when blanked with snow, but how would they look in less favourable conditions?

Our first planned stop along the way was at the Chocolate Pot geyser on the Gibbon River. The dark brown colour of this geyser is caused by a build up of mineral oxides.

Chocolate Pot Geyser, Gibbon River

Our next stop was completely unplanned, but nevertheless productive and exiting. As we neared Canyon Village we noticed a number of cars parked at the side of the road. This usually indicates that there is some wildlife, and sure enough as we drew level with the parked cars we could see a black bear making its way across the meadow. Unfortunately, it was heading away from us, but I did get a reasonable record photo.

Black Bear, Canyon Meadow

With the exception of frequent rain showers our journey up through the Hayden Valley was uneventful. Eventually, we arrived at the Mud Volcano area. By this time the rain had eased off considerably, so we began photographing the grasses. The highly saturated colours seen below are as a result of grasses being laden with rain water and steam from the hot springs rather than any saturation tweaks applied during processing of the raw files in Photoshop Lightroom.

Grasses, Mud Volcano

We spent about 30 minutes at Mud Volcano before heading back down to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. By the time we arrived the rain had stopped and the sun was breaking through.

Lower Yellowstone Falls from Artists Point

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artists Point

We spent a good two hours photographing the waterfall and canyon from various viewpoints before beginning the journey back to West Yellowstone. As we passed the meadow area where we had photographed the black bear earlier in the day we spotted a coyote. Unfortunately, it was quite a distance from the roadside, but still worth a shot or two.

Coyote, Canyon Meadow

Tomorrow could be interesting as the weather forecast is for snow.

** Disclaimer** Above images are quick previews specifically for this blog so that friends and family can see how I’m getting on.

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