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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home Home on the Range

A recent gift inspired me to relive my trip through Yellowstone National Park - definitely part of the Wild West. 

Home to one of the world's super volcanos, an eruption might have an impact around the world, just as Krakatao did in 1883 - an event of such magnitude the explosion was the loudest ever recorded, sending shockwaves around the world 7 times, causing tsunami waves to crest at 100 feet and spewing ash over the earth. Painters traveled from around the world to capture the intensified colors of the sunsets.

40 miles of the Grand Tetons tower above Yellowstone Valley leading to the south entrance of Yellowstone.
  Almost 14,000 feet, the tallest peaks surround a glacier.

Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America, is centered over the caldera of an active volcano. Yellowstone extends from Wyoming into Montana and Idaho and is known for its spectacular geothermal features. 

Old Faithful Geyser - erupting about every 91 minutes.

                                             Rain or shine - Old Faithful blows.

Between 1972 and 1987, Yellowstone had a natural fire policy and fires were allowed to burn out. In 1988, after much rainfall and then severe drought, fires decimated the park. More than 25,000 firefighters attacked the flames. No one was killed, but the cost approached 120 million dollars.

More than 10 rivers etch their way through Yellowstone rushing down cascades, waterfalls and meandering through the plains. Yellowstone, Madison and Lamar are major waterways full of fish and supporting many of our largest and wildest animals.

This moose looks harmless, but the species is known to be cantankerous.

Grassy plains lead to wooded valleys.

Where the deer and the antelope play...

searching for a meal

Injured wolves now in captivity

One freezing morning before sunrise, we ventured into Lamar Valley to watch the wolves. Through a rented telescope, I snapped these photos with my little Leica. We were a mile away and these tiny images can't begin to express the excitement of seeing them in action.... two packs fighting over territory.

Where the buffalo roam....

Even the buffalo prefer the easier route along  the highway... 
                                           cars be damned!

Buffalo art

                   Elk grazing....
                                                          Black bear stalking...

                                                       Always alert!                                              

 With a rack like this, he can go anywhere he wants!

An injured grizzly in captivity.

What happened to that fish?

A huge eagle's nest hung above the back road to Anna Maria Island off the west coast of Florida. We always begged my parents to drive by in hopes of seeing the eagles. Spotting this nest brought back exciting childhood memories.

The Bald Eagle (actually, white headed) is a bird of prey, subsisting mostly on fish. Near extinction in the 20th century, surely it would not have survived without being placed on the endangered species list in 1995. An eagle can spot a mouse under snow from hundreds of feet above.  In the wild, their average life-span is 20 years. One captive eagle in New York is reported to have lived almost 50 years. This beauty gave me over an hour of his time.

Everything comes to an end. These were dramatic.

So much to be thankful for... 
wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving
Liv - 2012.