“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
I am sure anyone who has visited Yellowstone national park will agree to the magical beauty of this place. I feel extremely lucky to have got the chance to visit this natural wonderland.There are more geysers and hot springs here than anywhere else on Earth.
The park was established in 1872 as America’s first national park. 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.
Yellowstone National Park extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park’s name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park.The Firehole River winds through the Upper Geyser Basin.
Nomadic grazers, bison roam Yellowstone National Park’s grassy plateaus in summer and spend winter near warm thermal pools or in the northern section of the park. The huge animals use their heads like a plow to push snow aside in search of food.
The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon, at 308 feet high, is one of the most photographed features in all of Yellowstone. There are numerous vantage points on both the North and South sides of the Canyon. The 3/8 mile (one way) hike down to the edge of the Lower Falls is breathtaking. The Yellowstone begins south of the park, traveling more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) before it empties into the Missouri River in North Dakota. It is the longest undammed river in the continental U.S.
Tower Fall is 17 miles north of Canyon or two miles south of Roosevelt. The 132-foot waterfall plunges as a near-perfect water column until it crashes onto the rocks at its base.
During the winter months, the frozen falls are accessible via cross country skies.
Yellowstone National Park’s mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Upper Geyser Basin contains the world’s greatest concentration of hot springs and geysers. In the entire park, which spreads out over parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, there are more than 10,000 hydrothermal features—half of all such features in the world.Of this remarkable number, only five major geysers are predicted regularly by the naturalist staff. They are Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Old Faithful. There are many frequent, smaller geysers to be seen and marveled at in this basin as well as numerous hot springs and one recently developed mudpot (if it lasts).
Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the park and is located in the Upper Geyser Basin. This geyser erupts more frequently than the other big geysers, erupting every 40 to 126 minutes. Old Faithful’s eruption lasts from 1 ½ minutes to 5 minutes on average, and reaches heights of about 105 – 184 feet, expelling 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water.
Lower Geyser Basin is located north of the Upper and Midway Geyser Basins, between Madison Junction and Old Faithful Village on the Grand Loop Road. The primary access point is either the Fountain Paint Pot area or the Firehole Lake Drive.
Midway geyser basin, though small in size compared to its companions along the Firehole River, holds large wonders for the visitor. Excelsior Geyser reveals a gaping crater 200 x 300 feet with a constant discharge of more than 4,000 gallons of water per minute into the Firehole River. Also in this surprising basin is Yellowstone’s largest hot springs, Grand Prismatic Spring. This feature is 370 feet in diameter and more than 121 feet in depth.
There are a huge number of day hikes available in the park, and since many visitors travel only to the most popular geyser basins these trails provide an opportunity to see the park in a more natural setting.
Yellowstone offers a number of recreation opportunities with specific rules and guidelines that visitors should be familiar with prior to arriving at the park. These include fishing, backcountry camping, hiking, horseback riding and boating.
….to be continued.