Exploring Yellowstone National Park
You’ve always heard about Yellowstone… theres a big hole in the ground that spews water hundreds of feet into the air and there’s bears and other wildlife and lots of trees. Maybe you knew there was a plethora of buffalo hiding out within the park, or maybe you’d heard that someday Yellowstone is going to explode, killing most of the surrounding prairie lands.
But did you know why? Yellowstone, one of America’s largest National Parks is more of an active volcano, supporting life while also killing anything that gets too close. Or rather, it’s a rare SUPER Volcano. My husband eluded to this factoid as we drove into the Park, grabbing our park map with the other throngs of Labor Day travelers. Upon looking at the map, it does in fact have the full outline of the caldera and plenty more information about how this super volcano is actually overdue for an eruption but ya know, it could happen any day now but we’re probably safe for now.
While reading up on all the fun guides the rangers provided we sit in traffic; the drive through Yellowstone could theoretically take about 3 hours total, but then you get into the wildlife and it multiplies. Our first delay was due to about 8 buffalo who decided the two lane road and bridge was a better place to play than the field; they walked up right past our truck as if to say, “I’m here too but like, I don’t feel like moving, buster!”. To me, they look like sassy dopes who do whatever the F they want.
Our second delay came shortly after; we sat in traffic for over an hour before we reached what it was that was holding up the line; two rangers by the side of the road, carefully monitoring a giant grizzley bear across the field from all of us onlookers. Thankfully for my new telephoto lens I was able to snap some shots of it as best I could, but it was honestly just so peaceful to watch this bear, birds circling ahead, bright summer sun shining, just living his (or, rather, as the rangers pointed our, her) best life. It was absolutely exhilarating to see.
After that, we took a few short hikes, one to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the impressive view and waterfall that flank its starting point. It was also impressive, and everything was so full of color and crisp and bright. The photo below was shot from Artist’s Point, which couldn’t be more aptly named as I can just imagine a painter spending hours to capture it’s beauty.
wow! Much Nature - much beauty!
But where are the geysers? The hot boiling ground you spoke of?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, once you hit the first one, right past the outline of the caldera, you notice them. Boiling roadside bubbles, either in a large roped off area (for your safety, and the safety of the animals) or just a small, likely new spot. The bigger ones have expanded and gone deeper, their acidity, more acidic than battery acid, creating a menage of bright colors that you almost think nature could not have made. But there we were, a safe distance from the craziest colors I’ve ever seen in the natural world.