"The Serengeti of North America"

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Feb 19th, 2006, 07:43 PM
  #1
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"The Serengeti of North America"

Thought some of you guys might be interested in my report on Yellowstone and pics of North American wildlife - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34757439
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Feb 20th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Thanks. Always have wanted to try a winter trip. Looks like you enjoyed yours.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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I have never visited Yellowstone and have always wanted to. To see it in the snow--for this fellow Californian--seems wonderful.

Liked all the photos, esp. the bison and coyote shots.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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Thanks, guys.

Lynn,
Have you been to Yellowstone at other times of year? We're thinking of going back in the spring or fall but not sure which one we'd prefer. I can see advantages to both.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Patty: I replied on your other thread too.

I have gone a couple of times in late fall -- splendid time to go. Crowds have left but you can catch the Aspen in color and better yet hear the bugle of the elk! Great time to dine in Jackson as well and to find moose along the Snake River in Grand Teton N.P.

Spring is the true Serengeti time in the Lamar Valley as the predators scavenge the herbivores who did not survive the winter. Probably the best time to see wolves and bears as the groceries are laid out and beginning to thaw. I have talked to biologists who have seen 7 large mammal species simultaneously in the valley at that time. The problem is timing as when does Spring begin? It can be late and if you come too early it will be more like winter, of course it can snow in the fall too. I have my mind set on making a Spring visit but my own field work always seems to get in the way.

I think the answer is you need to visit both seasons!
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Feb 20th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Late fall sounds like a great time, Predator. I went the second week of June once and mid August another time. Both good times but busier than winter< I'm sure. About 50 yards off the road it is not busy at all, though. I did a program that now runs through Teton Science Schools where you can track pronghorn, radio collar porcupines, etc. No prior experience necessary and a biologist (like Predator) accompanies and helps you.

http://www.wildlifeexpeditions.org/

I wish there was a Wildlife/Nature travel section on Fodors where discussions like this would be next to stuff on Africa. The common link would be type of travel rather than geography.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Thanks Patty,
I really liked the bisons and Palette Spring looked amazing, but I would never pay to go to a place with snow. Maybe, maybe if there were lots of polar bears

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Feb 20th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Lynn: How did you like your time with the Teton Science School -- it seems like a fun way to get out and enjoy the area. Pronghorn are amazing, second only to a cheetah in a short sprint but having evolved with wolves can run 40 mph for 4 to 5 hours straight! I'd love to hear more about your experience.

I agree with the your desire for a wildlife/nature focused board. I actually reserved a web domain called WildSource for such a purpose where I could provide content on 'biologist recommended' travel with some places getting a Roar of Approval that would be a free site with boards but I am nowhere near having enough time to get it going at this point. Perhaps in the future.

Back to topic, late fall is as uncrowded as winter but your access is still unlimited which makes it a phenomenal time to visit. I photographed a pair of coyotes hunting from the side of a road for an hour without another vehicle coming by in late October (that's really late fall in Yellowstone). Early October would be better for colors and elk rut but there will be a few more people.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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Predator,
As I feared, the answer is both! I was leaning slightly toward spring due to predator sightings and baby animals but now with your second post I'm back on the fence. You have a good point about trying to determine when exactly the seasons are for any given year.

Lynn,
A Nature/Wildlife section would be great. We often have discussions of Antarctica, Galapagos, and polar bears creep in on this board, so I think there's enough interest in this type of travel.

Nyamera,
Polar bears are on my wish list too.
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Feb 20th, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Actually I worked with an organization that I believe has now combined with the Teton Science School. It was Great Plains Wildlife Institute. What a great experience it was and plenty of regular sightseeing too. I gained a new found respect for radio tracking.

I cannot highly recommend spring over fall or vice versa and would gladly return either time.

Are the Fodor police looking at this? Maybe a wildlife sight would be good!
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Feb 20th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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We also went to Yellowstone in the Fall (late Sept), and it was wonderful. Great colors, since even the grasses go yellow, orange and red. Fishing was excellent then, as well. Only problem was the usual spring or fall issues of weather - we had everything from short sleeves weather to light snow, and for most of our time there parts of the northern area of the park were closed. However, the road clearance is probably better now than when we were there, so closure might not be an issue. Truly this was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and with features that are not found elsewhere (even Rotorua didn't have the colors found in the pools and geysers at Yellowstone, although there was a similar odor of rotten eggs....)
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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:17 AM
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Lynn: I went out for a day with the Great Plains Wildlife Institute as well quite a few years ago. They showed great local knowledge and we saw quite a bit in a day. I worked with them a little bit after that on a coyote broadcast/response survey protocol. No doubt radio tracking can be a lot of work, especially with nocturnal animals.

Stamiya: packing for Yellowstone is a chore because of that unpredictable weather. 40 degree changes in an hour can happen just about anytime of year. You are also dead on that there is no where else in the world like the Yellowstone area.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I am really going to have to move Yellowstone up on my US travel list.

<<Only problem was the usual spring or fall issues of weather - we had everything from short sleeves weather to light snow..>>

Hey "short Sharon": Remind me to tell you all about Nebraska weather when we're sitting around the fire at Chiawa! ;-D
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Feb 21st, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Thanks, I have long wanted to visit Yellowstone in the Winter. I have onlyh visited in the Summer, and saw lots of wildlife (buffalo, elk and moose) but no predators. The main sites were very busy, but the backcountry was very quiet. I try to get to at least one new US national park each year (this year I'm leaning towards Mount Rushmore and the Badlands), but I really want to return to Yellowstone. As much as I love Africa and overseas travel, there is a lot to see in my home country, and sometimes I forget that.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 10:56 PM
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thit_cho: Mount Rushmore and Badlands of S.D. are definitely worth a view along with Custer State Park and Wind Cave N.P. in same area. If you can squeeze it in I would see that area and then head up to Teddy Roosevelt N.P. in North Dakota which gives you badlands with out all the tourists in the S.D. area. Of course like Yellowstone there are lots of areas in the Black Hills and Badlands/Buffalo Gap Grasslands to escape people. I've been fortunate to do a lot of owl surveys in that area and it is beautiful.
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