LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Wild By Nature

A guest blog by my daughter, photographer Chelsea Sorenson, “Wild By Nature Photography,” including a small selection of the thousands of photographs she took on our visit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks last week.

Chelsea at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River (photo by WildDakotaWoman).
Chelsea at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River (photo by WildDakotaWoman).

Last Christmas, I asked my mom to take me to Yellowstone National Park for my upcoming vacation because when you’re a kid, being “dragged around” Yellowstone National Park multiple times, you don’t appreciate it, and you have to go back as an adult. Especially when you enjoy photography as much as me. Thus, it was that we spent the past week there.

I’m normally a night owl, but it was worth going to bed early and getting up early to beat the crowds. I was rewarded with multiple grizzly bear sightings, lots of yellow-bellied marmots, Trumpeter Swans (new bird for me), an American Three-toed Woodpecker (another new bird for me) and lots of other wildlife, including wolves, elk, Canada geese, pikas, mountain goats and more. Another highlight was the busy Great Blue Heron rookery we located on the banks of the Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley.

Although I wasn’t much interested in seeing the thermal features on this trip, a special treat was getting to see Steamboat Geyser spouting (it erupted at 2 a.m. the day we were in the area of the Norris Geyser Basin so we stopped). Steamboat is the largest geyser in the park and “when it erupts, it can rocket a column of scalding water 90 to 120 meters in the air — two to three times the average height of Old Faithful. Odds are against witnessing this drama, however, since Steamboat’s major eruptions occur fourdays to 50 years apart,” according to the NPS signage at the geyser. We made the obligatory stop at Old Faithful on the day someone was thrown by a bison and were not the least bit surprised at this news given the amount of stupid behavior we witnessed especially around the wildlife.

We also made a day trip to Grand Teton National Park, where I spent a week years ago when I was in grade school attending Teton Science School. Although both parks are crowded this time of year, we found many places of relative solitude for picnics and hikes.

The long drive was well worth it, and I already miss the cool temperatures of the mountains.

High-res versions of my photographs are available for purchase. You can also follow my work on Facebook at Wild By Nature Photography.

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