It was not such a long trip from Tetons to Yellowstone – in fact the parks border each other.  We drove up on a sunny evening – not so unusual around here!  Yellowstone was the first National Park, designated back in 1870 or so.  It is huge – the figure of 8 tourist drive is 160 miles long!  

 

Yellowstone, as immortalised in Yogi Bear as Jellystone, has a lot going on.  It is bear country though – 350 black & grizzly bears roam the area.  All pic-a-nic baskets must be kept secure!  Until the 1970s, rangers used to feed the bears to give the tourists a better view, but policies have changed to a more natural approach – bears no longer associate people with food.  If they do, and therefore become a problem, they have to be euthanised.  So the “Save a Bear” campaign urges people to take care of all food, scraps and rubbish.  

 

We spent a couple of days exploring the huge caldera region – a huge volcano exploded some 600 million years ago, leaving this huge crater about 40 miles in diameter.  It is filled with geysers, boiling mud pools, churning waters, and beautiful coloured pools, coloured by the “extremophile” bacteria that live in them.  The most beautiful pool, prismatic pool, literally glowed.  It is 200 feet in diameter, heated to about 70 celsius, and is a beautiful ethereal turquoise blue colour, fringed with orange.  From ground level, the steam rising off it looks blue.  We were lucky enough to find a path near Fairy Falls to get an aerial view – wow it was amazing.  The sight instantly made it into Cathal’s top 5!  The Old Faithful geyser, the biggest attraction, didn’t fail to perform – we saw the heated water whooshing 100 feet into the air several times over our stay.  

 

Wildlife is another draw – we got up very early one morning to go on a wildlife drive.  It was worth the early start to see hot water springs steaming in the cool of the morning at the edges of lakes, and mist on the meadows.  We saw bison, elk, a coyote and nesting ospreys, but sadly sighted no bears or moose.  Bison are huge and prehistoric looking – especially when seen on the road holding up traffic!  Car crashes are common in Yellowstone – the driver spots something interesting and immediately forgets he is driving!  

 

We were wondering why the park was called Yellowstone, until we visited the canyon – and saw the yellow stone that lines the walls…..duuhh!  Camping was great in Yellowstone, we stayed 3 nights at Grant Village and two at Canyon Village.  Our site neighbours introduced us to the sugary delights of Smores – BBQ-d marshmallows sandwiched with Hershey’s chocolate in graham crackers – a diabetes-inducing delight!  

Images of Yellowstone

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