Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yellowstone National Park in the Winter- West Yellowstone and the Kelly Inn

For Christmas break we had planned a trip to Southern Utah to bike but David got sick so I took two children who wanted to come with me and went to Yellowstone. I didn't quite know what to expect. I thought for sure I could drive on some main roads in the park but not so. The only way to go into the park in the winter is on a snowmobiling tour or a snow coach tour. I wasn't brave enough for the snowmobiles this time but we did do the snow coach tour and loved it.

We stayed at the Kelly Inn and loved it! They had charming rooms, really good breakfasts, a nice pool and hot tub for after a day in the snow and it was across the street from the Grizzly and Wolf Preserve.

We saw the three Teton Peaks on the way

We stopped at Flags West in Downey Idaho. My Aunt Angelyn and her husband started this business many years ago and I spent a summer working here when I was 13. It looked just like I remembered it and the food was still excellent

I think this was Island Park and the sun was just going down. The shooting light was perfect

We stayed at the Kelly Inn which I highly recommend

Emerald at the Grizzly preserve. I didn't realize that there was an open space with no fence before I took these pictures. 

On one side was the wolves and the other the Grizzlies

West Yellowstone

I went back to the Preserve at 12:45 because a guy working there said they were bringing out 3 new grizzlies at that time and they hide food around so when the bears first come out they are very active while finding the snacks. That's when I got my best pictures

The reason the bears and wolves are here is because somewhere they were a nuisance and so instead of killing them, they bring them here. They each have their own personality and stories which are fascinating. These are Coram, Roosevelt and Grant. Coram became habituated to human foods and became a nuisance. Roosevelt and Grant were orphaned and sent here when their mother was put down for killing a hiker. Since they were witnesses they were sent here.

Trumpeter Swans

The rivers are not all frozen over because of the warm water flowing into them

Elk just sitting on the mountainside. The animals seemed much easier to spot in the winter with the snowy background

Our Snowcoach- my van on steroids really

We saw a lot of Buffalo right on the roads since it's easier for them to walk there

Beautiful scenery everywhere!

Lots of snowcoaches

And snowmobiles

John at "Old Faithful" There are actually two tours you can take. The Old Faithful tour where apparently you see more wildlife and there's an Alpine tour which takes you up high. 

We saw wolves which was apparently extremely rare. There's just not that many of them yet

The geysers were awesome with the white background

This trail led through the steam of a geyser that erupts more often the Old Faithful. It was a little scary walking into nothing on top of the fact that it was a little icy

We saw lots of elk. This one was just walking in the water. Our guide cautioned us that we couldn't get closer than 75 feet.

A beautiful ending to an amazing day

On the way home everything was iced over, but the roads were fine

Somewhere near Malad, Idaho

Even the highway divider was beautiful