Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yellowstone National Park, 1969 ~ 1970

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

Considered the oldest National Park in the world, Yellowstone was established by the  U. S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses H. Grant, on March 1, 1872.

Of all the places I saw on my travels across this beautiful country, nothing compares to Yellowstone National Park. The beauty of the place alone would put it high on my list, but the park's geological features, its waterfalls, geysers, and its animals makes it such an interesting, unusual, and special place. I am also glad I saw both the park and Jackson Hole in the late fall and winter, free of tourists and crowds. 

Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest high altitude lakes in the country,  sits over the Yellowstone Caldera, an active volcano and the largest super-volcano on the continent. 


Half the world's geothermal features are located in Yellowstone, and are fueled by this ongoing volcanic activity. 


Hundreds of animal species, several that are endangered, live in the park, including grizzly bears, wolves,  elk and the oldest and largest public bison herd in the country. 

I drove over to Yellowstone that first weekend I spent in Jackson Hole. I don't think I saw any critters much larger than chipmunks, but I did see Old Faithful, the famous geyser that erupts about every 91 minutes. I also saw bubbling cauldrons of hot springs in a rainbow of colors, I saw waterfalls, the large lake, forests and fields. The photo of Old Faithful and the photo below are the only two I could find and I don't remember any more. It would be a different story today.

While in the park, I met Linda and her boyfriend, whose name I can't remember. They were hitchhiking, so after spending some time with them in the park, I gave them a ride back to town. Later, Linda and I became very good friends, as she and her boyfriend decided to spend the winter in Jackson and I decided to stay as well.

I had an experience I've never forgotten the last time I drove out to Yellowstone. It was winter then, snow covered the road and the fields below the Teton mountains as I drove toward the park. I knew it would be closed, but I think something was on my mind and I wanted solitude, I wanted to be alone in nature. So, as I often did, I borrowed someone's car and drove there by myself. I stopped by Jackson Lake, close to the park entrance. I walked along the lake. That winter after my divorce, I had much to think about. The lake was frozen over and covered by snow; I was all alone. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure I was not all alone; many animals must have observed my lonely walk in the snow along the lake shore. 

And then I saw it, a red fox slowly walking across the snow- covered ice. It was so special and so lovely. ~ Sometimes when I sit here, watching the sun rise over the mountains, I think about that day and the fox in the snow.

Source: Wikipedia & Google


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