Winter Inspiration

Winter Inspiration

To warn you in advance, this post has loads of photos and no fiber unless you count bison as fiber. But it should be inspiring so I hope that you will continue on reading to learn about my recent trip to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and my first snowmobile ride. Last year, our friends from Idaho, Howie and Janine had asked us to join them for a couple of snowmobile tours in YNP and we thought, why not? It’s kind of a bucket list item as we are downhill skiers but have never snowmobiled before. So we journeyed off to West Yellowstone, MT and got to see some real winter inspiration. There was tons of snow and it was cold but we had a great time. Seeing YNP in the winter is so different than the usual summertime visits.

With the snowmobile tours that we took, you could rent all the gear to stay warm so everyone looked alike. The first day we took the “Old Faithful” tour where we saw a lot of thermal features, waterfalls and of course, Old Faithful geyser. We had a great guide who explained all about how Yellowstone is mainly a big volcano which is really quite close to the surface. He reassured us that the volcano is not predicted to erupt for another 70,000 years. You can read more about Yellowstone National Park here. 

Here are some of the thermal features that we saw. It was amazing to see some of these beautiful colors on a winter day. If you click on each photo, the titles might give you a bit more information.

We saw a lot of wildlife and it was amazing to be on the same roadway as the bison. We did not get off the snowmobiles when we encountered bison and we kept moving slowly by the herds with the snowmobiles close together so that a bison couldn’t get in between two snowmobiles. They pretty much ignored us. They are huge, shaggy beasts and quite awesome to see their size and strength pushing through deep snow off the roads. The coyote on the top left, was hurrying down the road as we went by. There were lots of ravens around and you can’t really tell from this photo but they are big birds and noisy! There are a lot of wildlife that can stay in YNP because the rivers don’t freeze. With all the thermals, geysers and warm water flowing in the rivers, it provides a habitat for a large variety of birds and mammals to survive in the harsh winter.

On our second tour, we went to the “Grand Canyon” of YNP. It was a bit longer on the snowmobiles but has some great scenery. The snow/ice has fascinating shapes as the steam coats the surrounding pine trees. We call these snow ghosts in our area (you see a lot at Whitefish Mountain Resort).

On our day off, we visited the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. It was a really cool place to visit. They rescue grizzly bears, wolves, otters and other small animals that would  normally be euthanized. They also do a lot of education of the public about these wild animals. It was great to be able to see the animals more closely. The bears don’t hibernate at the center because they get plenty of food. Bears only need to hibernate if they don’t have a good food source. I wish we could have seen some of the otters in the wild (some had been spotted several days before we were there) but no luck. They do have a bear cam and a wolf cam so that you can view the animals live if you like.

Dennis did get a video of the wolves. There is a building where you could be inside (warm and cozy) and watch wolves interact with each other. This is a pack of a mama wolf and her four offspring.

I had a great time on this trip, rode and drove a snowmobile for the first time and was inspired by winter. So if you get the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park in the wintertime, go for it. You will see some amazing sights.

21 thoughts on “Winter Inspiration

  1. What a wonderful trip. Now I’m anticipating some great work inspired by all that beauty. I particularly liked the photo of the Caldera Rim. Would it be ok if I copied it and added it to the list of landscapes I’d like to reproduce in felt?

    1. Thanks Ann, it was a wonderful trip. You are welcome to use the photo of the Caldera Rim. I’d love to see your reproduction in felt. Yes, I hope that some winter scenes get developed soon.

    2. Thanks Ruth. I’ve just started a new picture which is to be a wedding present for the landlord and lady of our local pub, but I’d definitely like to do the Caldera Rim soon after that.

    1. Thanks Cathy, I hope that you will be able to visit Yellowstone, it’s an amazing place. It’s only 6 hours from us but we don’t get there very often.

  2. What a amazing adventure Ruth, I can appreciate why it was on your bucket list. Also good to know that “Old Faithfull ” is safe for a while. It never entered my consciousness that Yellowstone could be a holiday destination in winter. Way to go! Fabulous photos. Thanks so much for sharing. 😊

    1. Thanks Helene, it was quite the adventure. They keep really good track of “Old Faithful” and can predict within 15 minutes of when it will erupt next. I never really considered going to YNP in the winter until Janine asked us. I’m glad she did as it was a very different experience in the winter.

    1. Thanks! I actually have a sample of felted bison down in my sample notebook. It doesn’t felt all that well, shrinks minimally and the fibers have a tendency to float apart when wet down. But it did work with some effort. It’s very expensive to obtain though as there are not a lot of sources.

  3. Wow, Ruth. Some really fantastic photos there. As you said, lots of beautiful and unexpected colours in otherwise frozen scenes.

    I’d never really thought about warm water in winter and the potential to help birds & other wildlife to survive freezing temperatures. All very interesting. Thank you for sharing

    1. Thanks Lindsay, the colors of the hydrothermal features were amazing. I had not realized the effect of the warmer water on wildlife either, I learned a lot from the experience.

  4. What a great trip, Ruth. Getting to see all those wonderful wild animals up-close must be quite the experience. I could do with a little less snow, though – looks very cold! 😀

    1. Thanks Leonor! It was a wonderful experience but definitely cold and snowy. They were expecting four feet of snow and 30 degrees below zero (F) the day we left so we were actually quite lucky with the weather.

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and trip. We visited Yellowstone a couple years ago for the first time. It is an amazing place to visit. My Favorite park now!

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