Westward Ho - once again travel blog

Bison crossing road

hot spring

hot spring 2

Spouting mudpot

Old Faithful


Mountain sheep and baby


Lower Falls

Moran's Lower Falls

Since Yellowstone National Park (the 1st NP - 1872) was only a few more miles north, we decided to go (the 4th time I've been here). However, I'd forgotten most of it. It's a huge park with a figure 8 loop to drive through with very dense forests - 46% of them regrowth from the big 1988 fires. The lodgepole pine grows back thickly (maybe 20 trees per square foot) - so it's very dense until some of them die out. Along the roads - about 200 miles altogether) are various geyser basins with strange hot springs, geysers, fumeroles and mud pots - all a result of volcanic activity 1000s of years ago and the thin earth crust in this area, the magma from deep in the earth heating up water and causing all this phenomena. Lots of bison roam everywhere and the grizzly bear is particularly active right now - so many trails are closed (also still lots of snow). If you do visit Yellowstone - be sure to stop at each visitor center on the figure 8 drive - each explaining a different aspect of the park and making it so much more interesting.

Bob and I both remember the geysers - esp. Old Faithful - being higher and the paint pots and springs more colorful - so we asked a long-time ranger what he thought. Turns out we were right. He claims it is the amount of water (snow and rain) and the 12 year drought that has caused the change. Many of the geysers are dried up. I wonder what will happen in 20 more years??

The area called "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone" is famous for its Upper and Lower Falls. I've included a picture of the Lower Falls and a picture of the artwork of Thomas Moran of the same falls. He was influential in persuading the government to designate the area (and other areas) as a National Park. I thought his coloring was interesting. But actually, there is a lot of yellows and oranges in the soil - I think the trees just cover it up now.

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