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A Few Minutes in the Life of a Coyote

In the wild, coyotes hunt small mammals like mice, voles, and ground squirrels. It's great fun to watch coyotes at work in the winter months, when they use their keen sense of hearing to detect prey under the snow. Yesterday I had the chance to photograph a coyote as it trotted along a nearby trail in the Upper Geyser Basin.

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Beehive Geyser

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.  One of our biggest and most exciting geysers is getting ready to erupt.  Beehive Geyser is larger than Old Faithful, lasts longer, and is usually only seen once a day.  It’s going to be erupting sometime in the next fifteen minutes.  Head on out toward Old Faithful and turn left if you’d like to see this magnificent geyser.”

… That’s how I announce an imminent eruption of Beehive Geyser on the visitor center PA system.  Usually, I then proceed to watch out the window while visitors head outside.  Beehive is beautiful even from indoors, but there’s always a part of me that longs to go out and enjoy the eruption with the crowd.

Yesterday, though, my co-worker Ranger Landis sent me out to watch the geyser and talk about it with the thirty visitors who happened to be in the right place at the right time.  He kindly covered the visitor center desk so that I could enjoy the roaring, powerful eruption at close range, standing on the boardwalk just across the Firehole River from Beehive.

It made my day.

It was an important reminder to be thankful for generous gestures from friends and strangers—and to be more giving myself.  Never doubt that small acts of thoughtfulness and kindness can carry tremendous meaning.

Beehive Geyser erupts on January 10, 2014.

Beehive Geyser erupts on January 10, 2014.

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A New Year in Yellowstone

Could there be any better way to start a new year than by spending January first in Yellowstone?

I worked today at the West Thumb warming hut.  My usual duty station is at Old Faithful, but this winter I’m covering lieu days for the regular West Thumb ranger once every week or two.  This involves taking a snowmobile over Craig Pass, crossing the Continental Divide twice on each seventeen-mile trip.  I hadn’t realized how much I would enjoy working at the little wood cabin on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. Read more

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