Befriending A Bear In Yellowstone National Park

24 07 2012

Fumarole. Mud pot. Hot spring. Geyser. Do you know the difference?

Yes? No? Regardless, Yellowstone has them all and so much more. People associate Yellowstone with its thermal features and wildlife, and it delivers.

The water in this peaceful-looking pool is close to boiling point

The water in this peaceful-looking pool is close to boiling point

Water in Yellowstone is everywhere. Rivers and lakes surround so many of the tremendous park drives, giving sustenance to lush grasses and so many animals. It seemed as though every other pullout was a waterfall, capped by the majestic Yellowstone Falls.

Beautiful water-rich landscapes

Beautiful water-rich landscapes

Traffic was frequently at a standstill due to “bison jams” caused either by the animals in the road or right alongside it. Occasionally there would be cars parked on the side of the road due to elk or bear sightings, with throngs of people standing outside with their D4000 supercamera zoomed in on its nose hair.

An elk hanging out and looking cool

An elk hanging out and looking cool

The capstone of our wildlife experience happened on our last day in the park. The previous night, we’d had good conversations with five siblings in their mid-40s and they recommended exploring a more rugged area of the park. (We were camped right alongside them and sang campfire songs well into the night together along with some great guitar playing.) But that’s day three. Going back..

Our first day in the park was underwhelming when it came to the animal side of things. Fumaroles and geysers galore, but we “only” hung out with a few bison and a deer.

The second day introduced us to a pretty large herd of bison and some seriously cool baths of boiling mud, but still… the Yellowstone bear was in hiding.

So, that drive on day three. We started heading down this much emptier road, wide open land on either side. Nothing interesting was happening but we were both still enjoying the beauty. Then we saw some cars stopped on the side of the road. None of them looked broken down, so that was a promising sign. It delivered. About 200 bison, fairly close by. Resting, rolling in the dust. Very cool stuff.

Ayo keeping warm early one morning

Ayo keeping warm early one morning

We then saw a crowd of stopped cars, joined them, and… we see a bear! If you can define a faint black smudge in the distance as a bear. It was discernable using the 12x optical zoom on our camera, but was mildly disappointing. We continued our drive toward the north exit of the park.

STOP! There’s a bear cub. About 20 feet from the RV. OH MY GOD. I have no idea where mama bear is, but this guy is cute and is looking right at us. BEAR! BABY BEAR! And mama bear didn’t try to kill us.

Our friend, up close and personal

Our friend, up close and personal

Yellowstone for the win!

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posted by yair

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8 responses

24 07 2012
Randy and Brad

Hey Guys – We’re enjoying following your blog! We’re visiting several of the same places, just a few days ahead of you. Last week we were in Bozeman and took in “Music on Main” on Thursday night! Good mix of people, good bands, had a lot of fun and they block off downtown every Thurs night for the summer. We’re outside Glasier now, if you make it up this way let us know and maybe we can get together.
Thanks for posting your adventures.
Randy and Bvrad

30 07 2012
ayo

We loved hanging with you yesterday. Thanks for the shared adventure and hope to see you again soon! 🙂

27 07 2012
Alex

I can’t wait to get there myself! It looks gorgeous. And is that the blue robe from BM? (if it is, that is so very cool!)

28 07 2012
ayo

Yellowstone IS gorgeous! And, yes, I was totally wearing your robe.

There’s barely room for the robe in the RV because it’s so fluffy, but it’s still one of my favorite and comfiest items in my whole wardrobe. So, thank you! 🙂

28 07 2012
Pam

Yellowstone was great when we went, but we never saw a bear. Saw just about everything else though! We want to kayak Yellowstone Lake next time we visit. Much to see and do!

30 07 2012
ayo

That sounds like a blast. Yair and I saw another bear yesterday evening on the Flathead River outside of Glacier…

Pam, you just have to hang with us and we’ll be your lucky charms! 🙂

30 07 2012
roamingbarbara

Great pictures! That first one especially is gorgeous!

30 07 2012
ayo

Thanks! It’s theoretically a joint effort: I give Yair my phone and ask him to capture the gorgeousness. Then he takes the pretty pictures. 🙂

Love from Missoula!

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