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CJ's Yellowstone Winter Pictures

vol. 1

Ye-ha! My baby sister got some of my Yellowstone winter pictures scanned for me. Enjoy.


Animals at thermal pondA clear winter's day at Old Faithful Snowlodge in winter. This shot was taken along the ski trail I used to ski back and forth to work on every day. The animals congregate in areas where the thermal waters or warm ground expose the ground. It is much easier for them to get food when it is not buried under five feet of snow and ice. Because of this the geyser basins are usually jammed with bison and elk. Sometimes it is so crowded with them it is hard to get around them when in the basin.



bison at castle geyserBison in the steam and mist at Tortoise Shell Spring near Castle Geyser. The steam clouds are especially thick in the cold air of winter, so the geyser basins look more eerie and otherworldly than ever. Yes, the animals do sometimes fall in. That particular hot spring in the foreground is superheated - the water is above the boiling point. The result is soup. I have a story about that one I will have to get around to writing.



bison carcasA bison carcass in the Upper Geyser basin. A lot of grazing animals starve to death in Yellowstone in the winter. The climate is very harsh, and food is hard to get. The bison that have been leaving the park in recent years haven't fared any better than this one either. There are a lot of carcasses in the basins by springtime. The bears like it when they come out of their dens all hungry in the spring.



bombadeerA bombardier snow coach unloading food at Snowlodge. Since there are no plowed roads into the interior of Yellowstone in the winter (Mammoth and the road to Cooke City are the exceptions) everything that comes into Snowlodge comes over the snow. The bombardier is the most common type of snow coach that Yellowstone Park Lodges Company runs. The ride tends to be bumpy and noisy, the coaches tend to get too warm for people who are bundled up against the outside weather, and the drivers often drive like maniacs (knowledgeable, kind, and helpful ones though). Snow coach rides are an adventure.



snow on roof, canyon ham storeCutting snow off the roof of the Hamilton store at Canyon Village. The gentleman on the roof is a big guy. Even though he is sitting in the photo, you can see that the snow gets pretty deep. Here he was cutting blocks about the size of a super tall refrigerator and walking them over the edge of the roof. From what I understand that is the main part of his winter job.



castle geyserCastle geyser in winter. Finally a geyser picture (I like geysers - see the links page). Geysers erupt in the winter pretty much like they do in the summer. In the winter the steam and spray make all sorts of strange frost and ice formations on the surrounding trees and fences and whatever else happens to be around. Castle is a large (usually) predictable geyser with an impressively loud steam phase after the water runs out. It's cone, made of silica that very slowly precipitates from the water (perhaps one inch per century) is the largest of any geyser, and therefore probably the oldest.
See my geyser rant



firehole riverBank of the Firehole River, Upper Geyser Basin. Portions of the Firehole and other Yellowstone streams stay free from ice all winter long, even though the temperatures can fall to 40 below or lower. This allows a few waterfowl to live in Yellowstone year round.



elk grazingElk grazing in a thermal area, Upper Geyser Basin



lower fallsThe Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. Depending on how cold the weather gets, waterfalls in Yellowstone can become partly (as here) or completely encased in a cone of ice in winter.



clark's nutcrackerA Clark's Nutcracker, in a tree at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At least someone told me it was a Clark's Nutcracker. I don't know birds very well.




frosty fenceA very frosty fence. This fence is the one in front of Scissors Spring in the Upper Geyser Basin. The steam from the hot spring has caused the fence to become completely covered in frost.



copyright Chris Johnson
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