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Return of the bear-spotter….and photos galore

Friday, May 30, 2008

Warning : There are around 48 photos in this blog post hehe – Yes, I am crazy sometimes, but I know that some people rather see the photos here than go to my flickr account – so for the rest of you, keep one eye closed if you get bored before you get to the short stories 🙂

I’m back!  And it’s good to be home.  Isn’t it exciting when you return home from a holiday and have something to look forward to?  For me, it was catching up with all my emails and a lot of blog updates.    But ofcourse, returning home also has it drawbacks – back to routines, household chores, LOADS of laundry…. you get the picture!

For those of you who may have just tuned in, I was away on holiday at the Yellowstone National Park for the Memorial Day weekend.  This holiday was organised a couple of months ago as we planned to meet our friends from San Francisco – S (our friend from Singapore), A (his wife) and little A (their son, our mapillai). 

From left : S, A, little A, me, Divya and Elan at the Artist Point (the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone)

Divya and Little A finally posing for the photo

Divya offering her “dog” as a token of her love

Divya and the mapillai – hanging out in front of our cabin taking in the sights hehe

It’s been 9 months since we saw S and little A and more than a year since we saw A (boy, is this confusing with the mummy and the little one having names beginning with A hehe) It was an amazing trip for me – Elan has been there twice before, but he saw animals this time that he hadn’t seen before.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect – most of the time, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to read up or watch documentaries before going to a place of interest – I like to be surprised (I’m still child-like and I get surprised and excited easily) and more importantly, I don’t like forming expectations only to be disappointed.

Setting off on Friday morning, we headed to Idaho Falls to meet S and family who had flown in to Salt Lake City and driven from there – it was a half-way meeting point for us.  We decided to take a short detour to see Mesa Falls on the way to Yellowstone – and what a great decision it was.  I have seen many waterfalls in my lifetime (ok, some), but this one is a true sight to behold.  The special thing is that a walkway has been built next to the falls – and this walkway takes you very close to the top of the waterfall (just within metres).  The sheer strength and absolute beauty of a waterfall never ceases to take my breath away.  We also had some fun having a snow fight with some of the remaining snow – I think it was little A’s first experience with snow (that he can remember).  We left the Falls laughing and in good spirit.

 

Finally a picture of JUST the two of us at Mesa Falls 🙂 – and, NO, that is NOT a sweat patch under my arm hehe – it’s a drop of water on the camera :p  

The fathers and babies at Mesa Falls

Mesa Falls

As we drove in to the town at the West entrance of Yellowstone, I already felt lost in the beauty of nature – it almost felt like there were eyes watching us enter – and I was eagerly and hopefully looking out for any possible animals along the way – no such luck!  We arrived at our cute little cabins were going to stay in – the Moose Creek Cabins.  The cabin was very small, but cozy.  We didn’t have any major complaints about staying there except that the heater in our room didn’t work on the last night (but they had a backup portable heater in the cupboard so that wasn’t a problem.

Moose Creek Cabin – where we stayed

Divya testing the bed in the room

The next 3 days flew by so fast.  I won’t bore you with the minute by minute account of what we did so let me summarise it (but let me warn you, my summaries tend to be longer than the true events hehe).  First of all, I think everyone and anyone should try to make a trip to Yellowstone at least once in their lifetime if possible.  There is just something magical about this place.  Ofcourse there are few types of people who may not enjoy this type of holiday – those who:

  1. do not like driving for hours to get around the park
  2. think “why should I look for animals here if I can see them in a zoo anyway” [knock yourself on your head, you non-nature-animal-appreciator]
  3. have panic attacks if are away from civilisation for too long

I have not had the opportunity to be the world’s greatest explorer or nature-appreciator myself.  But I realise now what I have been missing out on.  There is just something heart-racing about spotting an animal in the wild – knowing that nothing stands between you and this magnificient creature except yards/acres of land.  But I have to admit, I am a hopeless “spotter” – but we figured out that the best way to “spot” is to spot the people with the never ending camera lenses and the many-thousand dollar binoculars – they usually are professionals – so if you see a group of them standing around, STOP THE CAR.

The professional spotter (with the cap) who showed us where the wolves’ den was – and us with new friends (who lent us their binoculars)

There are so many things to see in Yellowstone that I don’t know where to start.  Maybe pictures would be the best way to go. 

Animals

We saw bears, moose, elk, bald eagle, chipmunks :), LOTS of bison, coyote – we never had the chance to see wolves but we did see the wolves’ den from afar.  We did end up going to the Discovery Centre to see some bears and wolves.  Another special experience for us was also taking Divya to the theatre for the first time – and not just a normal theatre, but an IMAX theatre screening a 30-minute segment on Yellowstone – I must say, she wasn’t scared at all and she was on her best behaviour – she was so excited pointing to the different animals.

Moose

The remains of a bison – it was amazing coming across this and a little freaky (but then, I get easily freaked)

A bison right next to our car window

Elk

Bison and their calves

Bison poop – well, it was only fair I showed you how HUGE the poop was – and it was everywhere – that’s a comparison with my foot and that WASN’T the biggest lump of poop

Some precious time spent – near the wolves’ den

Boise’s little cow-girl

Divya’s bharathanatyam pose in the wild

Me, Divya and Yogi Bear at the Discovery Centre – my dream couch!

Wolves in the Discovery Centre – they actually woke up when they saw me trying to snap their picture

The bear in the Discovery centre – how cute is he!

Geysers

Apparently, about 1000 of these exist worldwide and about half of them are in Yellowstone.  True enough, you couldn’t drive for long without passing one – the most well known one being the Old Faithful Geyser [for those who will eventually make a visit, take note that you can check the estimated time for the geyser to erupt hot water at the small visitor centre near the geyser].  We made our way there on Saturday – but had to leave as the waiting time was too long – it was too cold to wait with the children.  But we did return on Monday for the experience, after which we took a 3-mile walk around all the nearby geysers. 

We usually buy few gifts back for ourselves hehe – to truly feel like we had a holiday.  I was looking for an album for the photos for this trip – more specifically, for a scrapbook – and I managed to find one at the shop at Old Faithful.  By the way, did I ever tell you that I’ve decided to take up scrapbooking?  I used to think that it was such an Aunty-hobby.  But as time goes on, I realise that it’s a perfect one for me because I have a HORRIBLE memory – so how am I to tell Divya stories of her growing up?  Sometimes I can’t even remember what I did yesterday.  Anyway, back to my story.  I was so excited to find a scrapbook with acid-free pages – but what did silly me do?  I bought it BEFORE our 3-mile walk through the sulphuric acid-filled air.  So now Elan calls it the acid-filled scrapbook!

Divya at the Old Faithful

The eruption of water at the Old Faithful

The eruption of water at the Old Faithful

Morning Glory Geyser – the colours are just beautiful but they are fading due to the pollution (things thrown in by visitors) – it’s really sad….

Me, S and little A at the Morning Glory Geyser

Craters of the Moon

On the way home on Tuesday, we decided to take a slightly longer route so that we could see Craters of the Moon. 

I was looking down this cone – hoping not to drop my camera in

That was amazing for me too.  It’s just a pity that Elan couldn’t enjoy it too – he was way too tired from all the driving – and he really doesn’t like that route as it’s just one LONG LONG straight road with flat land on either side – he says that the scenery gets boring after awhile and makes him sleepy. 

I guess this is how Elan felt after hours (maybe 1000 miles) of driving by himself

All in all, it was an awesome holiday – being one with nature (as corny as it sounds – it felt so true) and being lucky enough to catch up with friends.  The only sad thing was that we didn’t get enough time to talk because we drove in different cars (us in our own car and our friends in their rented car) – so a tip to all, rent ONE car.

Here are few more favourite pictures of mine.

The Petrified Tree

The little bit of blue sky we had on the trip

Just breathtaking – the view of the falls from Artist Point

The frozen Yellowstone Lake

Such a dreamy view

I just loved the colours in this picture – only to find out and see later, that there was a bear feeding on a carcass in the distance

Hope you enjoyed my journey through the photos 🙂

I MUST get a new camera with better zoom – HINT HINT 🙂

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, May 30, 2008 2:20 am

    Looks like you all had lots of fun!!

  2. Friday, May 30, 2008 9:17 am

    Let me first say that the last picture is PERFECT! You should enlarge it, and frame it for your wall!

    I would love, love, love to see Yellowstone. I think Joe has seen it, when he was a kid, but I never have. I would love to see Mount Rushmore too. 😀

    Loved all the photos! Thanks for taking us on your trip!

  3. Friday, May 30, 2008 12:41 pm

    Bavani-

    welcome back! Lovely pics of Yellowstone, Moose and the wildlife..the bison remains were scary. Seeing ur pics, we are motivated to visit Yellowstone sometime.

    Your lil one Divya is cute as can be and LoL-ed at Little mapillai A.

  4. boiseangel permalink*
    Friday, May 30, 2008 3:15 pm

    @spillay : I definitely did – I was born to travel – I just love it – and I’m glad that parenthood isn’t stopping us.

    @Julie : hehe – I did check out that last photo – I’m in the process of getting them printed. You really should make a trip to Yellowstone – your kids would LOVE it too. I too want to make a trip to see Mount Rushmore 🙂

    @Mitr : Yes, you definitely have to make a trip there. Part of the benefits of living here.

    Ah! Don’t be deceived by Divya’s cute looks – she one big handful hehe – she and her mapillai make a perfect team to get up to lots of mischief.

  5. Saturday, May 31, 2008 1:31 am

    Wahhh … pictures so postcard-like. I HATE Singapore!

    That bison head would look so cool above my plasma TV. 😛

    New camera eh? Fujifilm S100FS … chunky fella but without the hassle of a DSLR. Can zoom far far away short of reaching the moon.

  6. boiseangel permalink*
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 11:32 pm

    @blackcadillac : The place is beautiful – especially this time of year because you can see the different seasons in differet parts of the park. So as soon as Fada’s passport is useable, MAKE A TRIP HERE!
    You are disgusting! – the bison head is freaky!
    I will check out the camera – bulky is ok with me coz I’d be rough with it if it is dainty….

  7. Monday, June 2, 2008 6:46 pm

    What a bunch of beautiful photo’s. I’ve never been there but I’ve been to the Black Hills. It was gorgeous there too. We have buffalo (bison) near us. A farmer has them and right now the babies are just adorable. I wouldn’t want the head on my wall either!! LOL!! When they are babies, they almost look like a deformed cow/calf but darling nonetheless.

    I’m glad you had a good trip and thanks for sharing those photo’s. I’m not a fan of flicker.

  8. boiseangel permalink*
    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 9:46 am

    @Joy : Wow, I think my daughter would living in a place where she is close to wildlife 🙂 – the calf did look so cute…
    I’m glad you enjoyed the photos 🙂

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