It had been years since I had been to Yellowstone National Park. A whisper of uncertainty rode with me as we crossed the miles to the park. What if it wasn't all I remembered it to be? What if I had inflated its amazement? Every one of those questions abated as we pulled into the park through the west entrance. As with any good theme park, a character made sure to greet us. Not ten minutes up the road from the entrance gate, a man in a car coming the opposite way, was hanging out his window, waving his arm furiously, seconds behind him loped a sanguine bison. Majestically he crossed the road in front of us, then turned right and wandered leisurely past us. Welcome to Mother Nature's Disneyland.
Have you ever taken your family to Yellowstone? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. Nowhere on earth, and I mean that, is there any spot of ground so diverse, spectacular, and awe inspiring. Yes, portions of similar things in Yellowstone can be found elsewhere, but to have all of it in one place spread out in endless miles is impossible.
Before we had even neared our campground and just shortly after passing the Ambassador Bison, we saw steam pots and geysers, all shooting off with delight. Like natural fireworks. As blurry as the photo is, I couldn't skip it.
Mother Nature created Yellowstone as a jewel in her crown. Thankfully it would take eons for humanity to find this jewel and fortunately choose to protect it forever. Though Indigenous peoples and a few explorers had passed through Yellowstone's majesty, it had remained largely undiscovered until 1871, when the Hayden expedition set out to study the area. Among the team members were painter Thomas Moran, and photographer William Henry Jackson. These two men would create the art which was brought before Congress in 1872 and used to secure Yellowstone as our first National Park. Today, nearly 150 years later, Mother Nature's gem gleams just as bright as ever. Largely, untouched by man.
It's easier to show than to talk about the geologic wonders across the terrain. From acrid sulfur pots to lush water lily ponds, a majestic abundance pours out from every side. Better than any show you can find in an amusement park.
Cast of Characters
Most National Parks have plenty of wild life to see, however I have stayed in parks where birds and squirrels were the only critters that crossed my path. Yet, all three times I have visited Yellowstone, I have seen deer, bison, elk, bears, an eagle, and coyotes. This time I only caught two on camera. I was often too mesmerized to realize I could take a photo.
Man was in the Forest
We woke one Tuesday to find two 8 pronged bucks walking through the trees behind our trailer. Minding their own business, banging into each other, scratching at tree trunks, just happily making their way along for the day. We watched them for twenty minutes, laughed about the stag party, then turned back to camp. Five minutes later, a doe came out of the same trees, crossed right next to our trailer, then laid down for a nap. Suddenly I was reminded that we were guests in their home.
As Yellowstone's popularity grew, people became their own added attraction. The park is a mecca for hikers, bikers, photographers, painters, even Instagram influencers. Over the years hiking trails were cut, boardwalks were built, lodges and cabins erected, all to support and host man.
This past June, Yellowstone set a new tourism record hosting 938,845 human visitors. Clearly, we had been in lockdown long enough. Even with social distancing rules still in place, I wager humans outnumbered native animals during the summer.
Get Your Tickets Now
The 2021 summer season is wrapping up. A mass exodus took place the Wednesday we were there. A deeper stillness blanketed the park. As we wandered, I found a pamphlet that stated you can visit Yellowstone in a day. Next summer seems so far away, the world keeps throwing time curve balls at it, however, while we are just beginning to brush autumn, I invite you to schedule a trip to Mother Nature's Best Amusement & National Park. Whether you swing in for a single day or boldly park yourself in one of the amazing campgrounds and make it your major holiday, you will be rewarded for the effort. The stags, does, bison and geysers are waiting to give you the show of a lifetime.
For more details https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm