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Our first visit to Mammoth Hot Springs was not very successful since it rained hard the whole time we were there. We decided to drive through the park again and exit at Mammoth Hot Springs. Once again we had beautiful storm clouds in the sky. In several places we could see where the snow plows had been out earlier in the day.Yellowstone-National-Park-14-10-_0260a

We ran into a couple of herds of buffalo on the drive through Yellowstone. This fellow had been rubbing his head on a tree and ended up with a branch stuck on his horns. He looked a little forlorn.Buffalo-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-10-_0849

We stopped at Tower Fall. Unfortunately the trail to the bottom of the falls was closed so our only view was from the top.Tower-Fall-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-10-_0266

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We stopped at Undine Falls for a few photos. This is actually five shots that were merged to create one large photo.Undine-Falls-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-10-_0318

While we were at Undine Falls my wife noticed what appeared to be the remains of a buffalo on the canyon rim.Bones-Yellowstone-National-Park14-10-_0895

When TV news reports show over four feet of snow on the ground in Northern Wisconsin it can only mean one thing. Ski Trip!!! This is the earliest we have been skiing since the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 that dumped over three feet of snow on the farm.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0645

As things worked out we had tickets for the Dang-its performance of Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks Revue at the Park Center in Hayward, Wisconsin on Saturday Night. A large crowd was treated to the songs of Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash and a brief history of each.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0639

The next morning we were up early for the drive to ABR in Ironwood, Michigan. ABR is the premier cross country ski area in the Midwest. They had been struggling to get the trails groomed because the ground was not frozen and they had been getting over a foot of snow every day. They did have open 40 km of trails. Some were still closed because of the ground and it was deer hunting season in Michigan.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0651

There were quite a few folks out getting their ski legs on their first ski of the season. It was mainly overcast with the sun breaking through late in the morning. At twenty degrees it was just right for skiing. A rare selfie.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0629

Our original plan was to stay in Jackson Hole for several days but when we arrived we discovered that Jackson Hole was not the small town we remembered where you could park in the town square without any problem. It has turned into another playground for the rich and famous. In talking with folks we discovered that most of the people who work in Jackson can’t afford to live in Jackson. We also discovered that the fall colors were early this year and most of the leaves had already fallen on the eastern slope. As we drove through the park we continued to encounter snow although it was not sticking to the ground. We could also see that most of the aspen leaves had fallen.Teton-National-Park-14-10-_0944

Returning to Jackson in the evening we decided to cut our stay short and head back to Yellowstone National Park the next morning.Teton-National-Park-14-10-_0600

In the morning we were up early so we could get out into the park while there was some nice light. We briefly stopped at Mormon Row but the light was not very good.Mormon-Row-14-10-_0826

As we passed Cunningham Cabin the sun came out. We spent quite a bit of time at the Cunningham Cabin photographing it from various angles and changing light conditions. As has been the case throughout our Jackson Hole visit there were other photographers vying the best spots.Cunningham-Ranch-Cabin-14-10-_0073

What a beautiful place to live. On this morning there was a heavy frost on the fence and ground.Cunningham-Ranch-14-10-_0063

The highlight of the visit was when a moose ran along the fence line. This was the only moose we saw on our trip.Moose-14-10-_0126

We drove up the road looking for a little color and stopped at the gate to the Moose Head Ranch to take a few photographs.Moose-Head-Ranch-14-10-_0171

The next stop was the famous Oxbow Bend on the Snake River. Unfortunately the aspen leaves had fallen but there was still a little color in the brush.Oxbow-Bend-14-10-_0209

We stopped several other locations where we could find a little color along the road.Grand-Teatons-14-10-_0257

More photos from the Tetons can be found on my website.

Because of the dramatic sky we encountered on our visit to Yellowstone National Park I decided to convert some of my photos to Black and White to see how they would look.

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley

Castle Geyser

Castle Geyser

Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin

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Just north of Jackson Hole there are the remains of several Mormon homesteads that provide excellent material for photographers. Needless to say there were many photographers in the area and it was almost impossible to get a shot without getting a photographer in the shot.Mormon-Row-14-10-_0610

When we stopped late in the evening there was some nice light on the barns with snow clouds in the background.Mormon-Row-14-10-_0616

The next morning when we stopped on our way back to Yellowstone National Park there were a lot of photographers so we stopped to take just a few photos before heading out.Mormon-Row-14-10-_0032

We were up early for a drive down to Jackson Hole. Normally it would have been an easy drive from West Yellowstone down through the park but the road was closed south of Old Faithful so we had to drive down the western slope of the Tetons through potato country.Mesa-Falls-14-10-_0488

It was really foggy in the morning and folks were driving like there was no tomorrow so we decided to take a detour and drive over to Mesa Falls to avoid the main road. This wasn’t all that much better because it was open range and we kept seeing cattle along the road.Mesa-Falls-14-10-_0930

By the time we reached Mesa Falls the sun was out. Mesa Falls was very impressive with lots of water flowing and a nice rainbow out over the falls.Mesa-Falls-14-10-_0478a

As we continued our drive through Eastern Idaho we saw patches of color. Where there was color it looked to be nearing its peak.Idaho-14-10-_0518

As we continued our drive toward Victor, Idaho we could see storm clouds over the Targhee National Forest and fresh snow on the ground.Targhee-National-Forest-14-10-_0539

As we left Victor, Idaho to head over the mountains there was some nice color along the road.Jedediah-Smith-Wilderness-14-10-_0551

Driving over the mountains we encountered a snow storm with several inches on the road and poor driving conditions. We felt sorry for the folks living in Victor and having to drive to Jackson Hole to work.Jedediah-Smith-Wilderness--14-10-_0568

Having been on the road for almost a week and knowing that it was peak fall color season in the upper Midwest we were getting a little homesick for some fall color. Unfortunately Yellowstone does not offer a lot in the way of colors. Most of the trees are pine.

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We did find some spectacular fall colors in the Lamar Valley. The Cottonwoods along the river were just past their peak and there were a few Aspen turning color.

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There was also some nice color in the grass and brush.

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We also found some nice color in the hills just south of Mammoth Hot Springs. These were mainly Aspen.

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More photos from Yellowstone National Park can be found on my website.

On third day in Yellowstone our goal was to drive over to Mammoth Hot Springs. Yet another gloomy day with low clouds, rain and snow at the higher elevations.Our first stop was Gibbon Falls. This is a beautiful waterfall right along the road.

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We hadn’t gone far when we had our second sighting of a pair of Grizzly Bears. They were well off of the road when we first spotted them but they gradually worked their way toward the road until a tour bus pulled up right in their path. They then turned and headed back toward the woods.

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Driving over the mountains we had a spectacular view of the valley. This area was posted as a Grizzly Bear study area.

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The road was closed between Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs so we had to take the long way round through Tower Junction. As long as we were in the area we decided to drive over to the Lamar Valley. We reached the Lamar Valley, frequently called the American Serengeti because of the wildlife, about noon. Unfortunately we didn’t see much wildlife on this visit. In this photo there were buffalo in the valley and a couple of photographers on the left photographing the herd in the rain.Lamar-Valley-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-9-_2042

I was disappointed that we didn’t see any wolves. On my previous trip a couple of wolves crossed right in front of my car. I quickly pulled over and jumped out for a shot. I was leaning against the car while shooting and noticed that my car was moving down the side of the road. Apparently I was so excited I forgot to put it in park and had to chase it for a way before I could jump in and hit the break. On this trip we had to settle for a Pronghorn Antelope.

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A lone fisherman is working the Lamar River with the Cottonwoods if full fall color in the background.

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After driving through the Lamar Valley we headed toward Mammoth Hot Springs. We encountered this buffalo with a Magpie on its back. There were a couple of Magpies pestering the buffalo.

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When we reached Mammoth Hot Springs it was raining hard. We sprinted to the dining facility and had some hot chili an coffee before going over to the visitors station with a list of questions for the rangers. It continued to rain so we decided to drive back to West Yellowstone. We found out that the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris Geyser Basin was now open which saved us a long drive back through Tower Junction.

We did see a few Mountain Goats. If you look really closely you might see them along the ridge line on the right side of the photo. There was a Yellowstone Association Bus at the pullout with a telescope setup to watch the goats. If it wasn’t for that we probably wouldn’t have noticed them on the ridge.

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A short time later we passed Rustic Falls. There isn’t a great view of the falls from the pullout at the top so we had to turn around and drive back a few hundred yards to get a good shot of it.

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The rest of the trip was uneventful except for the construction delays and muddy roads in the construction area. More photos from Yellowstone National Park can be found on my website.

We continued on our way to Old Faithful arriving late in the morning. It was raining hard when we arrived so we headed for the Education center to kill a little time and find out when the various geysers were going to blow. My wife downloaded an app for her phone that gave the times for the big geysers.

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Old Faithful was going to blow in about a half an hour but it was still raining so walked over to Old Faithful Inn to grab some coffee and watch from under cover. Old Faithful did it’s thing and it was still raining so we walked over to the cafeteria and grabbed some lunch. During lunch it quit raining so we started a walk through the geyser basin.

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The sun was in and out of the clouds. There continued to be great clouds as a backstop for the various geysers.

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When we arrived at Grand Geyser we found some benches and a few people waiting for the eruption. My wife checked her app and found that there was a two hour period when it could erupt so we continued on.

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When we arrived at Grotto Geyser it was blowing a lot of steam so we watched it for a while.

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The last stop on the trail was Morning Glory Pool. As the sign indicated it was but a shadow of its former self but still beautiful.

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We then headed back the same way we came and spent a little more time photographing Grotto Geyser.

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As we approached Grand Geyser we noticed it was erupting. We hurried along the trail but as it turned out the eruption lasted for quite a while so I managed quite a few photos.

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We then wandered past Castle Geyser which was scheduled to erupt at about the same time as Old Faithful.

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As it turned out it started to rain so we decided on Old Faithful and walked over to the visitors center to get a cup of hot coco while we waited out the rain. As it turned out the service at the dining area was too slow so I went back to photograph Old Faithful in the rain.

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After the eruption we headed back to West Yellowstone. We found a herd of buffalo along the road and as we drove along the Madison River there was a Bull Elk at the edge of the river.

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More photos from Yellowstone National Park can be found on my website.

After driving along the Madison and Firehole Rivers and a few smaller geyser areas we reached the Midway Geyser Basin Area. There were a lot of tour buses and groups of photographers in the area. The later ignored the signs and crossed into areas that were restricted seeking to get the best photo possible.

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My wife walked around the area and came back to the car a half hour later and the photographers were still in the area taking photos of the same little waterfall.Midway-Geyser-Basin-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-9-_2313

What I really liked about this area weren’t the thermal pools but the spectacular sky. It continued to spit rain during the early morning and appeared to be snowing in the mountains. The sky made a dramatic backdrop to the thermal area.Midway-Geyser-Basin-Yellowstone-National-Park-14-9-_3225

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More photos from Yellowstone National Park can be found on my website.

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