Monday, May 25, 2009

My World: Yellowstone North Entrance

Well Michelle and I have returned from our 7th trip to Yellowstone National Park that we have taken over the past 7 years. Our trip in 2008 was the best that we had ever had, with multiple sightings and pics of both wolves and grizzlies plus pics of golden eagles and prairie falcon, so I was a bit anxious about this years trip. This year we did not see everything that we did last year but we did see somethings that we missed last year and over all both Michelle and I thought that it was a very good trip.
All of our trips to Yellowstone, except two begin at the north entrance to the park. This is the location of the famed Roosevelt Arch. The arch was named for President Theodore Roosevelt who honorarily laid the corner stone for the arch while he was on vacation in Yellowstone on April 24th, 1903. The arch, which was completed on August 15, 1903, stands 50 feet tall and was the official gateway to Yellowstone. On the top of the arch it reads, " For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People".
Now days the arch stands more as a symbol of Yellowstone. A more practical gateway stand further down the road but each car still must travel through the arch which is a great symbol of the worlds first national park.
As you continue through the north entrance the road follows the raging waters of the Gardner River. The Gardner River joins into the Yellowstone River just north of the park entrance and flows with the Yellowstone across Montana ending in Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota. Lake Sakakawea is also the headwaters for the Missouri River.
Over many centuries the Gardner River has eaten away at the surrounding mountains forming the path which is used to access the park. Cliffs rise up next to the road and river which require driver to use caution as rocks often tumble down into the roadway.
Even the cliffs at the North Entrance into Yellowstone provide a suitable habitat for wildlife. A few years back a pair of golden eagles nested on these cliffs. It was really cool to see a golden eagle chick in the nest but unfortunately no eagles have nested there over the past couple of years so the nest sits empty.
There is other wildlife to watch though. Big horned sheep can often be seen nimbly walking on the tiny rock ledges high above the road. Their agility is amazing and a bit nerve racking, as I always expect to see one fall yet they never do.
On the way into the park you pass this sign marking the 45th Parallel. I always think that it is very fitting that Yellowstone sits about half way between the Equator and the North Pole because in Yellowstone the weather is very unpredictable and it can be hot with the sun shinning one minute and snowing the next. Fortunately this year we had pretty good weather and we took a ton of pics so stay tuned for a lot of posts with Yellowstone pics over the next month or so. I promise that they will not disappoint.


Gaelyn said...

The North entrance station looks backed up like ours has been. The Roosevelt Arch is a nice touch. I assume it's an opption to drive through it, or may RVs fit OK. Haven't been to Yellowstone since 1980 so am really looking forward to your posts.

Pam said...

I haven't been to Yellowstone yet but maybe someday... I hope!
Thanks for the journey.

Marites said...

Yellowstone sounds like quite a fascinating place. I do hope the eagle's nest won't sit empty for long.

I really like the background story about the arch:)

Guy D said...

Yellowstone is gorgeous, my family went there when we were kids many years ago. Excellent pics.

Have a great week
Regina In Pictures

Arija said...

It may not be wolves and grizzly bears, but your post gives one a good overview of that part of the park, and I love the sheep.

The Early Birder said...

Have only seen Yellowstone via TV programmes so thanks for the intro via the north gate. Looking foorward to viewing all those other pics you took. Cheers Frank.