The Hayden Valley
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We very quickly discovered that Yellowstone is to the Tetons as apples are to oranges. Grand Teton National Park is relatively compact. One can easily drive its length in less than an hour if one chooses. Yellowstone is immense. It is seven or eight times the size of the Tetons and it covers a vast array of mountains, valleys, rivers, canyons, and lakes. Driving aimlessly around the park is pleasant, but you really don’t learn much about the place by doing that.
We wound up concentrating on a discrete part of the park, the Hayden Valley, a 16-mile long valley along the course of the Yellowstone River, running from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone at its north end to Lake Yellowstone at its southern terminus. The valley flanks the river on both sides and a road runs the entire length of the valley on its eastern edge. Most of the valley is open grassland and the road is situated above the valley floor.
This first image shows a typical view of the valley, with a small herd of Bison grazing near a pond adjacent to the Yellowstone River at the rear.
The valley is criss-crossed with small creeks that are tributaries of the Yellowstone. I soon discovered that the creeks often were good places to look for wildlife, particularly birds.
The Hayden Valley is not as breathtakingly scenic as the Tetons (practically nothing is). But, it had a unique beauty of its own, particularly at sunrise when mist formed over the Yellowstone River.
Indeed, I found the early mornings in the valley to be as moving in their own way as anything that we saw on the trip.
Beginning tomorrow, I’ll start showing some of Yellowstone’s impressive wildlife.
The first two images shot with a Canon 5DS-R, 16-35mm IS L zoom lens, aperture priority setting. Both images shot at ISO 160. The first image at f11 @ 1/125, the second at f11 @ 1/30. The second two images shot with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting. Image # 3 shot at ISO 200, f18 @ 1/640. Image # 4 shot at ISO 200, f8 @ 1/250.