Yellowstone in winter is a truly special place. The snow transforms the park into a mysterious, unearthly winter wonderland and whilst I was looking forward to visiting the national park, I was also dreading it. Our tour was to be conducted entirely by snowmobile and I was convinced that this was going to be hardcore. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Our snowmobiles were two seater affairs complete with heated seats and handgrips. The back seats were for us to lash our camera gear to – just as well really because driving a snowmobile is so much fun that I could see rows ensuing every morning as to who would drive.
Our first day out was also my birthday and what a magical day it was! Not only did it snow, but we saw bison and even a wild bobcat. The bobcat was particularly special because sightings of them are so very rare.
I watched, enchanted as the bobcat hunted along the river’s edge and successfully caught a vole. I didn’t want to leave the bobcat but the light was fading fast and we had to leave the park.
We were also lucky enough to spot trumpeter swans. These swans were once thought to be extinct as no one realised that they wintered in the park.
I had hoped to photograph a Great Grey Owl in the snow. Sadly, we arrived too late and all the owls had already migrated elsewhere. However, coyote sightings more than made up for the disappointment.
Yellowstone in winter is such a beautiful and unearthly place. I’m not normally into landscapes but Yellowstone is so much more than just the wildlife that call the park home.
On our last day, we visited Two Tops, a favourite site for snowmobilers and home to some of the most fantastic snow sculptures created by snow, wind and cold. The landscape is utterly alien. It really was like we were on a different planet.
If you want to do a photographic tour of Yellowstone in winter, snowmobile is the way to do it because you can get to places that the snowcoaches can’t take you. Also, your cameras will fare better in the constant cold temperature than the see saw of cold outside and warm inside the snowcoach.