Here Are Wildlife and Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

They say the best way to find wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is to stop looking for wildlife and start looking for people who are watching wildlife. And it works. You just drive along the road until you spot a bunch of cars pulled off to the side. If the people are holding cameras and not zippers, all the better. That's how we spotted our first bison. But it's funny how your attitude changes when you're the person who finds that perfect picture-shooting opportunity and somebody else pulls off the road beside you. The first thought in my head wasn't about how much I was looking forward to sharing their enthusiasm for wildlife, it was "Hey, this is my elk. Get outta here." I imagine the bison photo people felt the same way when we jumped into their camp. Everthing is all hunky dory when you're the intruder, but it doesn't work so well the other way around.

Probably the scariest thing from our trip to Mammoth Hot Springs yesterday was the trip up Old Gardiner Road. This is a one-way dirt road that climbs many, many feet and winds its way from the town of Mammoth over to the north entrance to Yellowstone. It has no guard rails and the turns are somewhat sharp. When we approached the first turn, I envisioned the road ending around the curve and a complete drop off. I don't know why I have these irrational fears. I did what I do best and put my head down, closed my eyes, clutched the center console in a death grip and cried, "We're all gonna die."

After my heart resumed beating and I could see the road again ahead of us, I began to enjoy the scenery. It's very different from in town. Wind-swept mountains to the right with jagged edges, rolling hills and meadows to the left. In a somewhat marshy area, we spotted ears poking through the grass and pulled over. Sure enough, it was a mama and papa pronghorn, plus a couple of babies. I have included a shot of one of those below.

Elk run loose all over the town of Mammoth Hot Springs. As a result, the town has erected signs on every street corner that say, "Do Not Approach the Elk." We watched videos at the visitor's center of elk ramming cars. By the post office, a bunch of elk were sitting under the trees napping. A young male elk approached the herd and the buck stood up to charge him. I asked my husband if the other elk didn't belong to the herd. The buck stopped in his tracks and urinated. My husband said the young elk just wanted what all males all over the world want. That reminded me of a birthday card I once sold to a greeting card company. It was for women. It said, "I know what you want for your birthday. You want what all women want -- a condom and a place to put it."

I decided on this trip to learn about evergreen trees. They all look alike but they are not alike. Although almost 80% of the trees in Yellowstone are lodge pole pine, there are other types of evergreens such as White Bark Pine and Juniper. So, I picked up a hiking book that helps to identify each type. The way lodge pole pine reproduce is by dropping pine cones. But the pine cones don't open unless they are heated, which is why fires are necessary. Sometimes trees have to burn down for other trees to grow.

Above is a photo of Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser, and below are photos of a bison along the road, a fishing spot north of Mammoth, the lower terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, the Travertine Occupants, followed by pronghorn and an elk along the trailhead.







Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Jon Budish
Resident Realty - Fort Collins, CO

Everyone who appreciates the outdoors needs to visit Yellowstone National Park.

Oct 01, 2010 03:13 AM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

The greeting card made coffee come out of my nose.  I wasn't expecting that right then.  The photos are just fantastic.  I'm so glad you got to go and I got to see.

Oct 01, 2010 03:25 AM #2
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Elizabeth - I am so very impressed with your photographs!  This trip is bringing out your Inner Photographer.  No question about that!

Oct 01, 2010 03:57 AM #3
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Beautiful photo essay, Elizabeth. I haven't made it to Yellowstone yet. Some day!

Oct 01, 2010 04:28 AM #4
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I threw that little tidbit into this blog just for you, Tammy. But it's also the truth. I did sell a birthday card to a greeting company in Maine.

And Myrl, if I can impress you, that's pretty good because you are so much better than I am.

Oct 01, 2010 02:27 PM #5
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor

You are the queen of these great shots ! ! ! Thanks for sharing this great shots with nice information about yellowstone !

Oct 01, 2010 03:54 PM #6
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Elizabeth - these are incredible photos, and the area is absolutely beautiful. Love the animals and can't believe how close you were.

Oct 03, 2010 04:35 AM #7
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Elizabeth, the photos are truly beautiful. I loved your description of driving Old Gardiner Road - too funny!  Glad you survived it :-)

Oct 03, 2010 05:52 AM #8
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