#42 Yellowstone National Park, WY
Yellowstone National Park (2.2 million acres)was established in 1872 as the 1st National Park in the US and in the world. Pretty amazing to think it all started with this park 146 years ago and I can't think of a more iconic park to bear the honor. I can hear you thinking "Hey! The National Park Service just celebrated it's 100th birthday, how can Yellowstone be 146 years old?!?" If you recall the blog about Yosemite, the Army was in charge of managing the early parks. The National Park Service didn't get created until 1916, when they decided that the National Parks were going to be permanent and growing entities in our country.
Today our attraction to Yellowstone is mostly for the rich volcanic activity and the wildlife. If someone says to you they visited Yellowstone and didn't see any wildlife, you would gasp! It is the one place in the lower 48 states that if you don't see wildlife; well you must have had blinders on as you drove through. The largest population of wildlife in the lower 48 states call Yellowstone "home".
Because of this, it became a poacher's heaven. The US Government decided they needed a game warden to protect the wildlife from disappearing from their newly made National Park. So they hired a man named Harry Yount. Yes, I said A man...1 man...to protect 2.2 million acres! It brings to mind the saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same". I'm sure you catch my drift here... Anyway, poor old Harry is out there in 1881 trying his best to defend the animals from poachers and running himself absolutely ragged. In less than a year he comes to his senses (my guess it was after a nasty cold winter) and sends a letter of resignation to the government. In the letter, he kindly recommends that they get a dedicated army to protect the animals. After realizing he had been snookered into a hopeless situation he still kept his composure; what a guy!
"Only 2.1 million acres to go today!"
OK, on to what you really want to see in Yellowstone; geysers, mud pots, hot springs and steam vents. It seems most everywhere you go in Yellowstone there is something bubbling, gurgling or erupting in hot steam, water and mud. There's a very good reason for that. Yellowstone contains more than half of the world's active geysers!!!
Norris-Geyser Basin Trail
Steamboat Geyser Region/Trail
It's really an odd feeling to see steam vents in the distance. Your first thought is "FIRE!", and then some primordial feeling comes over you and you wouldn't be surprised at all to see a dinosaur come out of the trees. Usually, it's a herd of buffalo instead, but...
Blood Geyser Region/Trail
Biscuit Basin Region/Trail - Wall Pool
**Please do not attempt to adjust your screen colors...it really is these amazing prismatic colors**
Upper Geyser Basin Trail
Old Faithful wannabe! Ha Ha!
And the Grand Dame of them all, Old Faithful!
Beautiful pools near Old Faithful.
Why yes, that is boiling water. So when they advise not to go near it, it seems like really good advice.
This is Star Pool, it's Anna's favorite. This is the one she pulled me to. Absolutely mesmerizing! Isn't it beautiful?
Old Faithful Lodge.
And then there are the waterfalls...beautiful waterfalls!
That's Fred on the rock.
On to Grand Tetons, which is right next door to the South.