I've saved my favorite part of Yellowstone for last. Wait, did I already name a favorite part? Well, this has to tie with it, at least! :) I was awestruck by how many beautiful, pristine forests and vast meadows there were in Yellowstone, and best of all the views from high on the mountains. I think I was just surprised at how much wilderness there was, and the beauty of it. I knew we'd love the thermal features. But I wasn't expecting the views!
The valleys around the Madison River as you drive in from the west are really beautiful. I love that wide, slow-moving river with the trees crowding both sides!
And of course above the Yellowstone River, even after you move past the deepest part of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, is lovely too.
We saw some wildlife: lots of buffalo herds, which was great. There were even babies!
And this family of elk, among others.
But once we got up high into the mountains, I think that was my favorite part. This bridge along the cliff is so cool! We read about how much trouble they had engineering something strong enough. It's been rebuilt several times.
Amazing. It looks like these mountains go on forever!
As we got up high in the mountains, the fields of wildflowers kept getting more and more spectacular. I was conscious of the fact that my fellow travelers were probably getting tired of my exclamations about them, but I just couldn't stop. Finally Sam suggested I get out and take the pictures I was longing to take, and I happily took the opportunity! (Thanks for waiting in the car for me while I gamboled through the meadows, family!)
A lot of the flowers were ones we see here in our Utah Mountains too—lupine, sticky geranium, paintbrush, arrowleaf balsamroot—but the terrain was different, and the concentrations of flowers. There were some meadows up high that were just covered completely with the yellow balsamroot, which I have never seen in such profusion before.