I naively thought, being in a national park, we’d have some time to relax and rest up. Not in Yellowstone. There are just too many things to see! I’ll need so much rest by the time I get home, I will probably spend the winter hibernating.
The past two days and nights were packed with natural wonders, the like of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. I felt like I was transported back 3 billion years, to when the earth was still being actively shaped and formed by volcanic processes, driven by a super heated core.
Driving into the park at dawn we saw steam everywhere, rising from the plains, the rivers, and the forests! It looks like wildfires have broken out all over the park! When you think of Yellowstone you may, like me, picture a buffalo grazing near a steaming vent. The first one I saw it was like STOP THE CAR!! I took a dozen or more pictures of it. By the end of the day I realized just how common this scene is. Bison and steam vents are everywhere!
Hydrothermal activity is what makes this place so amazing and unique.
Hydro = Water Thermal = Heat
All it really means is that the ground water is hot. The reason for this is that Yellowstone is a massive volcano. The magma is close enough to the surface of the earth that it heats up the ground water. Depending on the underground structure and the different minerals and elements present in the ground, this hot water creates all different kinds of features. The result is all of the geysers, steam vents, hotsprings and mudpots that you see in Yellowstone.
One circuit around the park was enough to know I will be back. Can you imagine backpacking in this back country and going to some of these rare, amazing places on your own, in the quiet and solitude of nature? Believe me, I’m happy that so many people come to visit, and I think everyone should see this place. The more people who take an interest in the natural world the better. At the same time, it can feel crowded, and like you have a checklist of things to see. It would be nice to get a little further from the paved roads next time!
Bottom line: Yellowstone, go see it. Look at the world the way it used to be. Hot, violent, constantly transforming itself, dangerous and utterly beautiful. See it from the car, from the tour bus, or from the trails in the back country. You won’t be disappointed. Get out and explore! Whoo!!