You could tell how many days people had been in Yellowstone by how excited they got when they saw animals by the side of the road. On the first day, every animal was cause for excitement and an extended time to stop and stare. By the third day people just glanced and drove by the animals unless there were cute babies or unusual actions involved.

Below are bison or buffalo, which are big, strong, fast and scary. There were calves in the herd which made the adults more dangerous and unpredictable. It was surprising that everybody stayed in their vehicles here, often people would get out of their cars and move in close for photos:

2002 Yellowstone bison 750

Would you get out of the car if you saw a bear sauntering toward you, displaying five inch long, razor sharp claws? And yet about a dozen people did get out to take pictures from the side of the road when they saw this bear. I took the picture below from our car. Yes, the bear was as close as it appears to be:

2002 Yellowstone bear 650

These are elk, which can be dangerous when protecting their calves:

2002 Yellowstone elk 750

The picture below was taken while we were hiking in the pouring rain in the middle of the woods, so it’s a little fuzzy. It shows a mamma moose and her cute baby. We were on the far side of the creek for a fast escape if needed.

2002 Yellowstone mooses 750

Yellowstone has a complex ecosystem with hundreds of varieties of birds and animals. We saw plenty of small critters like squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits during our visit. They all had their little personalities and were fun to view.