Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 as the first national park in the US, is located mostly in Wyoming and includes the world’s largest collection of geysers in addition to numerous bison, elk, grizzly bears, and other wildlife.
We spent three days exploring different parts of the park but, at almost 3,500 square miles, there’s a lot that we didn’t get to see. Ahh, I hope there will be a next time!
We entered the park through the historic Roosevelt Arch entrance:
The elk hold court right next to the visitors’ center:
Our first stop was Mammoth Hot Springs, featuring weird chalky deposits that make the area almost look like the surface of the Moon:
And then there’s crazy color! [In fact, one of these days, I’ll share my various abstract-looking photos that focus on the gorgeous form and color of this place.]
Bacteria, algae and sulfur form the brilliant orange hues:
Obviously this sign is an homage to Arrested Development‘s recurring “no touching” joke:
We got up close and personal with geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles, whose colors are largely dictated by the combination of water temperature and the types of bacteria:
Lamar Valley is home to a wide range of wildlife. I saw tons of critters including a wolf [which looks like a big grey dog], both grizzly and black bears [brown and black lumps in the distance] and lots of bison:
And these guys! Can we take one home?
We hiked up a steep trail and reached this lovely wildflower-filled meadow. The hills are alive with the sound of music:
Honestly, Old Faithful didn’t blow me away; maybe I’d expected too much. Tourists filled the bleachers before the scheduled time and some even sang “America, the Beautiful,” which was a bit bizarre. Here’s the very start of the spectacle:
I got to witness the show twice, and I’m glad I did because the first performance was a bit of a dud due to the strong wind. The second time was more impressive but still didn’t match the dramatic height of what we saw in the gift shop:
Tell me this doesn’t look more majestic than my photo [screenprinted poster reproduction available via Ranger Doug]:
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is indeed quite grand. The tops of dead trees in this area hide osprey nests:
On this trip, we stayed in Paradise Valley in Montana and visited the park via the North entrance. If we do this again, we’ll stay in Wyoming and focus on the Southern half of the park. Anyway, in conclusion:
In my ongoing quest to become more of a nature lover, I’ve also visited Acadia in Maine, Zion in Utah, Mesa Verde in Colorado, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Joshua Tree in California, Kasha-Katuwe in New Mexico, and Badlands in South Dakota.