There’s nowhere in the world quite like Yellowstone. From its raging geysers to its free-roaming herds of bison, the land stands as one last remaining pocket of a wild, primeval America. As the world’s oldest national park and part of the world’s largest intact temperate mountain ecosystem, Yellowstone has become synonymous with environmental protection worldwide. Here you will find the country’s largest elk herds, the continent’s largest bison herd, and the world’s densest collection of geysers and fossilized forests, set in a land roamed by wolves, grizzlies, moose, and antelope.
After nearly two weeks of exploring Grand Teton National Park, it was time to break camp and head north – to Yellowstone National Park – the granddaddy of them all.
The Park was established in 1872 as America’s first National Park – an idea that eventually spread worldwide – and this place is truly spectacular.
Just as I noted about the Grand Canyon, this place should be one place everyone visits at least once in his or her lifetime. ‘Mmm –sounds familiar…sounds like one of my recent posts…sounds like a bucket list idea…sounds like…
but I digress…
I left Grand Teton very early- in part to beat the traffic though the parks, but also to arrive early at Bakers Hole National Forest Campground. They don’t take reservations and the camp host had told me during my scouting visit to arrive before noon to be sure to get a site – arrived at 11am and scored a super long pull through site – sweet.
The campground is 3 miles north of West Yellowstone and just outside the National Park – the busiest entrance to Park given its location. I had also selected West Yellowstone for its location – a good jumping off spot to get on the “figure 8” that I noted in a previous post is the shape of the Park’s road system – a fairly easy run to all the Park had to offer.
The guidebooks eloquently describe …the incomparable combination of natural beauty, rugged wilderness, majestic peaks, and abundant wildlife. Indescribable geysers, mudpots, fumaroles, and hot springs make this magma-filled pressure cooker of a park unlike any place else on earth. If you’re not here for the geysers, chances are that you’ve come to spot some of the teeming wildlife, from grazing bison to cruising trumpeter swans… A mountain wildland, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone…
In a world of hyperbole, some of you are probably thinking – “come on, Steve, really???” –
“incomparable…majestic…abundant…indescribable…unlike any other….”
Yes folks, it’s all true, trust this nomad – this is a wonderland on steroids! Old Faithful is something we’ve all heard about, but the fact is, the majority of the world’s geysers are here too along with all those other thermal features – the… mudpots, fumaroles, and hot springs…magma-filled pressure cooker… It’s one of the main reasons the Park was established in the first place – and, the same reason I am here.
Yellowstone, however, is much more than the hot stuff. Most of the park occupies a high plateau surrounded by mountains and home to several rivers and lakes. On the drive to the Park, I crossed the Continental Divide 3 different times – simply amazing. The Park’s boundaries surround peaks, alpine lakes, deep canyons, waterfalls, and vast forests – a truly special place.
So with some general input as well as some “local knowledge/inside skinny” (all you have to do is ask!!) from the good folks at the Visitor Center , I am set to explore the well known as well as those off the beaten path spots….
off to search out the geysers, waterfalls, and herds of wildlife…from West Yellowstone, to Norris, to Canyon, and Old Faithful…and, that’s just the start…off to fish and kayak and hike…
More on all of it to follow…
Take care…see you down the road