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Familiar Faces in Yellowstone

A familiar bear with cubs stand in lush greenery in Yellowstone National Park.

Day after day, month after month, year after year, familiar faces show themselves in Yellowstone. For some, this means people: the wolf watchers, those individuals with the largest spotting scopes of all that we’ve grown to love and admire throughout time; the geyser geeks in their floppy sun hats, letting us know when our favorite hydrothermal features are nearing an eruption; and even the beloved wildlife management rangers, patrolling the roads in unmistakable vehicles, ensuring everyone follows the rules when the critters come close. 

For me, familiar faces resonate the most when thinking about wildlife. As the days, months, and years go by, some things remain the same−the wolves and the bears. Whether it be a mother wolf out patrolling the landscape with her pups once again or sow grizzlies raising cubs on the same old ridges each spring, it’s comforting to see familiar faces in Yellowstone. 

Pictured at top is a sow grizzly I photographed in 2022 as she and her cubs of the year (only one pictured) explored the outskirts of Hayden Valley. We would see them occasionally as the summer progressed until one day when the cold set in and the bears had moved on. Just last week, a year later in 2023, they showed their faces once again not far from where I had seen them before. 

A sow grizzly bear with two cubs, now one year older, graze grass in Yellowstone National Park.

I knew immediately who she was and smiled at the thought of those young cubs growing up since I had last seen them. I explained to my guests that morning why I was smiling, and the sighting was even more memorable. 

Putting faces and names to the places we visit in Yellowstone is special. Fortunately for me, these moments are becoming more and more common as the days and months and years go by. 

Photos and content courtesy of Yellowstone Wild guide/photo instructor Kyle D.

Yellowstone Wild Guide Kyle D is the author of this blog post.

To learn more about Kyle and the rest of the Yellowstone Wild team visit our “About Us” webpage.