Monday, June 17, 2013

The worlds first National Park, Yellowstone...

Who hasn’t heard of Yellowstone and Old Faithful?  I mean, the park was established back in 1872, even before Wyoming, Montana and Idaho were states.  It was with incredible foresight that these gentlemen realized what a gem this area was and that if something wasn’t done to protect it, preserve it and care for it, it would be demolished like any other land elsewhere and future generations would never see the unique beauty and history of this area.  Little did they realize, that they were setting a precedent for many more governed parks (city, state, national) and that this idea would slowly spread to other countries as well.

Pretty lofty stuff, but you are steeped in it as you traverse through this park.  You become submerged in terms like cascades, geysers, rock pillars, hot springs, fumoroles, pools, and mud pots.  Seeking out different geological features along with the various animals becomes part of your daily adventure.  Each area you drive to, and drive you must (unless you are into hiking many, many miles a day) has it’s own unique geological features, such as waterfalls, or the Grand Canyon, or geysers (did you know there were over 250 of them in this park?). 

Our first day out and about was to Old Faithful, of course!  True to our good-luck-pattern, we got there about 45 minutes before “spout time”, perfect!  Time enough to breeze through the Visitor Center, a quick look into the Gift Shop, then out to nab the perfect seat to get front row viewing for good pictures!  Right on time, she (it is a she, wouldn’t you say?) started to spout.  First a few puffs of steam, then a bit more, then a tease or so of bubbling water, then some pretty big squirts and then came the build up, and up and up she went!  Way, way up to as high as 184’ and can expel as much as 8400 gallons of boiling water in as long as 5 minutes.  What a great show she puts on!  The sun was bright and the sky was a deep blue, which made for a beautiful backdrop for the pure whiteness and the sparkle of the water shooting right up into that sky!  Absolutely beautiful.  I was in awe.  I had heard so much about it for so many years (haven’t we all?) that I expected to be disappointed, but not so.  The last thing I expected was to be captivated.  I was. 

Afterward, we had to go see the (also famous) Old Faithful Inn (c1904).  Wow, what a lobby!  It’s a national historic landmark all on it’s own, and I believe Disney loved it too, so they copied it and put it into the California Adventure Park. The lobby log rafters are seven stories (90 ft) high with a central fireplace (8 combined) that have more than 500 ton of rock!  Easy to walk around with your mouth hung open.  We went to the 2nd floor observation deck, (where I got two bars on my cell!) and looked out over Geyser Hill.  Nice.  Back over to Geyser Hill for some “educational viewing” and great photography ops.

The rest of the day was “all about geysers”.  We learned that some erupt frequently, some many hours apart, some days or months apart, some constantly, some not so much anymore, etc.  Other than a couple of the “biggies”, they don’t post the expected times, your either lucky or your not.  On one, I was comically lucky.  It was one of the rare dome geysers, the White Dome, that goes off about every half hour or so, which I didn’t really know.  I wanted to see it because of it’s shape, and the fact that it is so rare.  While I was standing in front of it, shooting it, it started going off.  I had no idea how much or how high it would go, so I just kept snapping.  It went up about 20’!  What a wonderful surprise!

Right after that was our first encounter with animals.  Bison, first of many.  They are all over the place.  Sometimes you will see a lone one, sometimes a few, sometimes a huge herd, some far out in the field, sometimes right on the roadway next to you.  You get used to them, or at least I did.  I continued to chuckle when I saw (what the rangers called) "critter jams" whenever a bison was anywhere near.  Seeing the calves with the mamas was always a treat tho. 

Day one ended with seeing our first waterfall, the Kepler Cascades.  Nice way to end the day.
 ...on the road in Wyoming,   Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

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