Winter in Yellowstone
Three Dog Day

Wild Winter Wonderland

Bozeman mt-1

As our plane landed in Bozeman, Montana, it was very obvious that we were definitely not in Indiana any more...

...having traded my beloved Hoosier cornfields blanketed by a few inches of snow for towering Rocky Mountain peaks and a couple of feet of pure fluffy white stuff covering everything. Since I happen to love snow, I was immediately entranced by this breathtakingly beautiful wild winter wonderland where we would spend the next week. 

 

Bozeman mt-1

We were picked up at the airport by John, one of our amazing guides for the week, and taken into downtown Bozeman where we spent the first night at The Element Hotel.

I know you're wondering, but no, I did not cruise around Bozeman on a bicycle in snow and temperatures in the teens. But apparently some people do...

 

Bozeman mt-10

Not a bad view from our hotel room! Nope...definitely NOT in Indiana any more...

 

Bozeman mt-10

Feel free to sit around the fire on the hotel patio...

 

NatHab group-1

Our trip was booked with Natural Habitat, one of our favorite travel companies. Everything NatHab does is done with excellence, all the details are taken care of so we can just relax and enjoy the trip. That first evening, we met our fellow NatHabbers, the folks with whom we would be spending the next several days. It was a specialized photography trip and these people are amazing photographers. As Kim predicted, I did have some "lens envy"...some of the camera lenses they had were WOW!

There were 9 of us guests plus 2 guides (Shawn on the far left and John on the far right) who each drove a NatHab van, so we all had plenty of room for our photography stuff (it was a specialized photography trip). All the other guests were from Florida or California, so the cold was quite a shock to their systems. But there were few complaints and we all got along great. 

 

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After a wonderful night's rest in Bozeman, we packed up the NatHab vans and headed south toward Yellowstone National Park.

 


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I couldn't get enough of the snow-covered foothills and mountains!

 


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We spotted our first small group of elk, just grazing away in the snow.

 


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After driving through Paradise Valley, we entered the northern part of Yellowstone.

 

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In the "village" of Mammoth inside Yellowstone, we had our first up-close encounter with snowy bison.

 

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Bisoninmammoth-7

They were meandering between the buildings, using their big strong heads as snowplows to get through to the grass hidden beneath.

 


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The first of many bison-induced traffic jams we would see the next few days...

 

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When the snow is that deep, it's a lot easier to take the highway...

 


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Spectacular vistas!

 

Gardiner-5

We had lunch that first day in the charming little burg of Gardiner,...

 

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...just outside the park and in sight of the Roosevelt Arch.

 


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Gardiner-5

No, the fences don't keep the elk contained...they are there to try to discourage them from getting onto the road.

 

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Of course, when we saw our first bighorn sheep posing so perfectly, we had to stop and snap some photos...

 


Bighornsheep-2

Amazing boys! Look at those curly horns!

 

Rangerstop-1

Even though there was no other vehicle anywhere for miles, apparently the ranger didn't approve of us stopping in the road (there was no place to pull over because of the deep snow) for those shots. I took this photo from inside the van through the rearview mirror. Thankfully, our guides only got a warning...

 

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A glorious first day in a very different part of God's creation...

...a wild winter wonderland.

 

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