36 hours at Yellowstone

Yellowstone was buzzing with activity when we toured there for 36 hours in August of 2017. Yes, 36 hours, because I was passing through from my Wyoming trip and was en route to Spokane. This is definitely their busiest time of the year, right before kids go back to school. While there were some crowds and minor traffic congestion in a few parking lots this wasn’t problematic at all. Of course I wasn’t the one driving a big Chevy Duramax truck! Being a passenger afforded me the luxury of the most incredible sightseeing I’ve ever had the privilege to partake in. Check out this bison!

Yes he was this close and no, I never left the truck. Wow! Yellowstone has almost 5000 bison, commonly referred to as the American buffalo. They stand 5 to 6.5 feet tall and a bull can weigh 2000 pounds with a cow weighing up to 1100 pounds. They. Are. Huge. Despite that hefty size, bison can run at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour and execute standing jumps of up to 6 feet in the air. Yellowstone warns its visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from bison, and for good reason. They are the largest land animal native to North America and have injured more Yellowstone tourists than any other animal in the park. At least they are vegetarians!

This next bison was napping quite literally 15 feet off a populated tourist path. Like right there. Crazy! Yet not crazy because this is their home and we are merely visitors passing through seemingly unnoticed by them.

For this pic I did zoom in a bit, but not much!

Yellowstone was set aside as the world’s first national park because of its hydrothermal wonders. The park contains more than 10,000 thermal features, including the world’s greatest concentration of geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents. Research on heat-resistant microbes in the park’s thermal areas has led to medical, forensic, and commercial uses. I was not prepared for the colors and structures. It’s like a visible expression of the underground activity that’s pouring continuously through to the surface of the ground. I’ve studied up on this geological phenomenon, but to keep it simple, they would not exist without the underlying partially molten magma body that releases tremendous heat. They also depend on sources of water, such as the mountains surrounding the Yellowstone Plateau. Underground, superheated water gets to about 400 degrees, crazy science takes place, and “paths” are created underground and up through the surface, pouring and spewing out “volcanic fluids” and liquids with crystals and chemicals. Bold, beautiful colors, like those of  gemstones, flow and bubble in expansive basins and hillsides. Check this out. These pictures have not been greatly edited. The colors really are this vivid!

Luck was on our side and we got the last room at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. They must have had a cancellation because all the lodging and camping accommodations were booked solid. The atmosphere was quite pleasant, gracious staff, fun tourists, and excellent food. And very clean.

The wine was French and well worth the $13/glass price. Next time I’ll get the name of it!

Beet salad with feta cheese and some type of sauce,

incredible.

Artist Point is on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and was probably my favorite place to absorb incredible vistas. This canyon is about 20 miles long and was formed by erosion as Yellowstone River flowed over progressively softer, less resistant rock. What a nice backdrop for family pictures!

I couldn’t help but to do some serious people watching as well. It seemed as though half the tourists were from out of the country, from families to couples, a true melting pot.

Yellowstone…majestic in the truest form of the word. Unique beauty and phenomena’s that solidify your faith in a higher power. A place I’d go back to, most likely with a day hike planned.

feel free to comment and share your experiences!

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