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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.

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