Yellowstone: King of all Parks

The hype is worthy; Yellowstone is an incredible place to see. This first of the US National Parks is a treasure. There are wild animals and even wilder landscapes. We have visited waterfalls, mud pots, geysers, fumaroles, travertine hot springs and more. The western entrance to Yellowstone is in Idaho. A few miles in, we were treated with a bison having a grass breakfast; he could not look up.Our longing for big and small game was easily met. We saw marmot, prairie dogs, elk, bison and mule deer. On the landscape front, we visited three states; Idaho, Wyoming and Montana and we watched geysers erupt, mud pots bubble and waterfalls flow over canyons. We walked through the geyser basin watching steaming and bubbling pools of water and mud. Amazing colors of heat-resistant microorganisms and minerals change the Earth’s surface. Old Faithful, was just that. Steamboat Geyser did not erupt to it’s 200 feet glory, but it did captivate us with billows of steam and some teasing splashes. The northern entrance to the park is Mammoth Springs, an area that has staircases of travertine-encased rock. The water (a combination of rain and snowmelt, not a river or spring which deep into the ground) are heated under the fragile ground and then cascade from below ground up and over the terraces bringing the rich colors of the different minerals in the stone to the surface. This creates amazing patterns and stair-like formations. It looks like an inside-out cave. Pictures cannot capture the splendor and beauty of this amazing park. The geothermal activity, the open prairie, the stunning mountains and canyons all have unique qualities. It is no wonder Theodore Roosevelt was convinced and compelled to create the NPS and make Yellowstone it’s first Park to be enjoyed by all.

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