Wyoming & South Dakota

If you’re approaching Yellowstone from the south you’ll get your worthwhile fill of mountain scenery through Grand Teton National Park, before heading to the geothermal wonders of its northward neighbour.

Yellowstone is unreal. If you asked me which geiser to see, I’d say every single one. Glowing blues, rolling steam, spouting water, some like permanent sunsets in the ground. I met a couple in Oregon who were there in low season and claimed to have the place to themselves. Not really the case for me, but I started early enough in the morning to avoid most of the crowds. It was the most challenging photography experience of the trip, one that I failed immensely. The fragile geothermal grounds surrounding the geisers restricts you to compose your shots from a boardwalk. The unpredictable ambient light, the blinding sulphurous steam and my lack of a wide enough angle lens all added to the challenge.

The east side of the park is home to hundreds of bison. While stuck in traffic, two such were walking straight for my car, until a park ranger drove in and herded them off with the noise of his siren. The bison have gored five tourists since May, one such tourist approached too closely for a selfie and was flung In the air when she turned her back on the animal that weighs somewhere in the 2000 pound range.

If I could urge you to see one thing from my travels, it would be Yellowstone. Go. Do it. Yes, I’ll come with you.

Knackered by the end of Yellowstone and sleeping in my car too many nights in a row, I should have rested before driving the Bear Tooth Highway, so that I could truly enjoy the switchbacks, scenery and skinny lanes. Perhaps on my way back some day.

Pea sized hail pelted my car in South Dakota. I followed the chain of cars off the highway to seek cover from the attack. The same storm found me again at Mt Rushmore, then abruptly ended. My naivety envisioned a serene setting where people stood on a platform and gazed up at the carved stone of a few past Presidents. When will I learn, huh? I passed on the line up and $11 parking, took a picture from afar and was on my way.

I’ve got home on my mind now, a few more stops, a few more days.

Zel xo

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