Sunday, July 3, 2011
Day 32-July 2, 2011- Yellowstone Park Wyoming
I started the day in Gardiner Montana at the “Yellowstone Perk”. This is Francie who made sure I was adequately caffeinated for the day, and had my dose of daily Wi-Fi.
Fortified, I made my way through the ominous Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park. Etta and I drove the big loop–about 125 miles of stop and go traffic, photo ops at every curve in the road, and lots and lots of tourists like me. It is the 4th of July weekend after all. Gorgeous sunny blue-sky day in the upper 70’s I’d guess. To be honest, Yellowstone was work. I wanted to see the famous sights, but the one road around was often reduced to pileups when someone thought they spied a bear spec in a tree across a meadow and would literally leave their car in the lane to snap the picture.
I asked a fellow visitor to take the requisite picture of me in front of Old Faithful. This is “down time”. The famous periodic squirt of hot steam wasn’t due for a while, so I settled for the regular puffing mode. Etta was in the car in the sun, so I cut this part short. This is half the parking lot at Old Faithful and some of the crowds.
Despite the car and human traffic, Yellowstone is a magnificent and humbling place. It is expansive, pristine and wild with animals like bear and bison roaming free. The place has it all...desert bluffs and scrub brush desert, mountains and canyons, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, meadows, evergreen forests (I did not see one hardwood deciduous tree), gorges and snow fields in the higher elevations across Craig’s Pass and the Continental Divide.
A big part of Yellowstone is a caldera. That’s geo-speak for a tea-pot dome of earth covering a cauldron of geo-thermal activity below the surface. The land spurts steam from cracks and blow holes in the ground, bubbles scalding water into pools and lagoons and down the sides of drippy hills frosted in mineral deposits from within. There’s a fire below our touristy feet, deep inside, sending messages to the world above, or so it seems to me.
I captured small corners of this place and managed not to snap a single vista. My bad! There were plenty of breathtaking views, as well as the wild and wooly show put on by nature from above and below ground.