Location: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone National Park. Need I say more? Chances are, you've either been there yourself or seen pictures of everything in the park. What you might not know is that this was America's and the World's first National Park. That is, it was the first time a government set aside land for public enjoyment forevermore. Do you realize how utterly incredible this was? For a government to establish land that is owned by nobody and for all? Indeed, National Parks are one of America's best ideas-
"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." ~Wallace StegnerSo it was with great interest that I was able to make a pilgrimage to a park with so much history.
I had quite the time getting out to Yellowstone. For those who do not know, it is located in the very Northwestern corner of the US state of Wyoming. Parts of the park spill into Idaho and Montana as well. The problem is, I was coming from Southern Wyoming and planning on entering through the South Entrance. Well its closed till mid-May! Not a problem, I can just go through the West Entrance in Montana, which wasn't too far away. So I hopped the border at Teton Pass and made my way up Idaho. Well, a snowstorm hit me up in the mountains and I was forced to turn around. That was a low-point; I'd driven nearly 300 miles across Wyoming and Idaho to get skunked only 20 miles away. I slept in Ashton, Idaho for the night.
The next morning it was SUNNY! Not wanting to believe it, I checked the weather and doppler radar for the mountains- completely clear! Even the roads were clear! I happily drove up into West Yellowstone, Montana! I had made it to Yellowstone National Park!
|Old Faithful from afar|
Turns out, this was an excellent time to be going through Yellowstone. Spring is truly the "secret season" of Yellowstone. I encountered no crowds! I hardly saw another soul on any of the well traveled trails. Additionally, the wildlife is flourishing right now! I saw hundreds of American Bison and many Bald and Golden Eagles. Tomorrow I will be headed through parts of Yellowstone that have so much wildlife, its been called the "Serengeti of North America"! This is the time when many animals come out of hibernation and before the RV's move in.
|From the "safety" of my car|
Since it was my first time to Yellowstone, I decided to play the tourist and visit all the great sites that the park makes accessible. I did see Old Faithful erupt twice. Mind you, it does erupt consistently, but not at the same exact times every day. There are probably 30-40 other geothermal features to see in the Upper Geyser Baisn too. Several of them have small eruptions on an almost constant basis. Don't get too fixated on only seeing Old Faithful. Midway Geyser Basin has the colorful and famous Grand Prismatic Spring. Also, I was able to hike the Fountain Paint Pot which has every type of geothermal feature. The mudpots, hot springs and geysers were everywhere on the drive to Old Faithful!
Over HALF of the WORLD's geothermal features are protected by Yellowstone National Park.
Well I certainly had fun in the Southern portion of the park. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will explore the central basin and canyons of Yellowstone. Cross your fingers on the weather!