Wild Waterton.

     I forgot to mention in the previous posts that on our way home from Yellowstone we made a detour to Waterton. Maybe it’s that the town of Waterton is essentially a dead end, or that in the summer it erupts with life and in the winter seemingly goes into hibernation but out of all the places I’ve travelled to, it might claim the spot as my favorite. Ever since creating the fond memories from my family road trip there a few years ago, it’s a place that brings me so much joy.

     Anyways, we went to the obligatory Cameron Falls where I tried some unique angles of the falls in an attempt to mix it up from one of my portfolio image I made on my previous visit. After that we went to the notorious red rock canyon. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sunny, warm day like the first time I visited the spot but it was cool to see it tourist free. We concluded our quick visit in Waterton with a stop at drift wood beach where we found a lot of awesome rocks. :p

     I’m going to drop the posts down to once a week again (hopefully) and try to focus on developing a podcast with my friend Caleb as well. If you listen to podcasts, what would you look for in one that talks about current events and culture? Message me or comment your ideas.

Boiling River & Bears – Yellowstone.

     While Celine and Sophia were napping I decided to go for a walk down to the nearby river. It was a great time to be alone and observe the natural essence Yellowstone had to offer. After they woke up we went looking for the boiling river so that night we could bathe (for the first time in 4 days :P).

     Evening arrived so after supper we went down to the boiling river and made the plunge but what we didn’t realize was that the water was either ice cold or scalding hot 80% of the time. There were only a select few spots that allowed for comfortable relaxing and even then you’d catch the occasional shock of cold or boiling water. Even though it was a painful experience and one that I wasn’t the fondest, of we were a little cleaner and less foul smelling.

     On our way back to the vehicle it was already dark and for some reason I was super paranoid the entire time. About 50 meters from the vehicle Celine and Sophia were joking about seeing a bear and then not a minute later they both went quiet behind me and told me to keep walking. As we approached the vehicle I noticed their speed escalating. Confused and somewhat panicked I asked what was going on and they simply replied by saying, “nothing,” and then full out ran. I followed suit and it wasn’t until we were back in the vehicle that they informed me of the massive bear print in the mud that was clearly not there on our walk to the river. None of us saw a physical bear but the size of the print they described made me thankful for getting back when we did. If it was just a black bear I wouldn’t have been too worried but judging by the size it was evidently a grizzly and at the time of year we were there the bears were feeding 20 hours a day.

     We safely made it back to the campsite and I think I slept with the bear spray in my sleeping bag that night ( just kidding that wouldn’t be safe :p). Anyways, the next morning we packed up and set off for the 10 hour drive home. Overall the trip to Yellowstone was a great time of relaxing and exploring an area I had never been before. The history, wildlife, and unique geological features definitely entice me to go back again but there are so many other amazing sights that I can’t wait to see. Thanks for reading this long, drawn out series and I hope to be able to get up to date with all the other small day adventures I’ve gone on. 

Lamar Valley – Yellowstone.

     Without a doubt wolf watching in Lamar Valley was on the top of my list of things to do. We woke up well before sunrise and began the scenic drive to see the legendary wolves of Yellowstone. There wasn’t a guarantee of seeing them but about 10 minutes into Lamar Valley we saw three vehicles pulled over at the side of the road and thought it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about what they were doing. It felt like we struck gold when they said there was a wolf pack on the distant hillside. That childlike joy filled me and all I wanted was to see them. I pulled out my camera with a humble 70-200mm lens in hopes of spotting them. As you may have guessed, fully zoomed in the wolves registered as mere pixels. I was nowhere close to having a zoom that would suffice for viewing or pictures.

     Thankfully one of the regulars shared his scope with us. He told us people called him the “bear man” because he wrote reports on the bears in the park. In addition to that he pointed out the head biologist who set up a few meters away with his scope and notebook. It was so cool being able to observe this sub-culture within the park and at this time there were more than 20 vehicles parked with scopes and tripods.

     Even though it was impossible for me to take a photo of my favorite animal in the world, the mere ability to observe them in their wildest form was jovial. I don’t know how to describe it really but the connection I feel to wolves (for no apparent reason) make me want to advocate for their well being and safety more than most things. Just a warning that you will probably judge me or think I’m kind of weird from what I say next but I’ve had multiple dreams that I’m part of a wolf pack just running through forests and living with them. I realize how ridiculous that sounds but it’s perplexing and kind of funny. Also I’m sure everyone has that one thing they really connect with. For some it’s the mountains, trees, birds, dogs, elephants, who know but mine is wolves.

     Moving on before you think I’m totally weird, the views that accompanied the riveting wolf experience were amazing. I loved seeing the fog float across the hills creating atmospheric views that I frequently search for in landscapes. After visiting Lamar Valley we went back to the campsite for the afternoon to relax.

     To be continued… (The post was just getting too long so the next post will be the conclusion of the Yellowstone adventure!.... Finally) 

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

     The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was probably my favorite location in the park. I didn’t really know what to expect but was impressed by the scenic vantage points the park provided. All I could think of was when people first stumbled upon this massive canyon. There’s forest surrounding it so if they were on land and, in the literal sense, stumbled upon it that would be the end of their adventure. Lets hope it didn’t happen that way but it was a funny skit I thought through. Anyways, we visited the upper and lower falls after the initial outlook spot. I loved figuring out how to frame the scene from the various points of interest and create personal photos that I felt were unique.

     I don’t have a lot to say really because the views were breathtaking so I hope you enjoy the photos! 

Paint Pots & Mud Volcanoes - Yellowstone.

     I don’t really have a lot to say about the Paint Pots or Mud Volcanoes but the first three images of the bull elk are what impacted me that day. Early morning we woke up to start making breakfast and only a few meters away, in the next campsite over, this massive bull elk was meandering through. I kept an eye on him while I grabbed my camera just to make sure no one else would scare him away or get too close. During this time it was quite comical watching the elk intrude a camper near by who was trying to pack up for the day. Casually the elk had moved between him and the rest of his camping gear with no regard for the task he was obstructing. After the elk moved on I slowly approached, while keeping a good distance, and took some photos of him as we both watched one another. The connection that occurred while knowing this elk was watching me as I created a photo of him was a little bit of a rush but also a moment I wish I had more frequently with wildlife.

     Making an intentional connection with nature is something I yearn for. Knowing how to live mutually with the natural world is a part of our existence that is all too often overlooked and suppressed because of our default assumption to superiority over the world.