After the scenic bliss we were experiencing from the morning ride we were excited to enter Yellowstone, yet saddened to leave such a great place and warm company. We entered the fabled park through the East Entrance and could feel right away that we were somewhere special. As we drove out of the woods we gained sight of Lake Yellowstone, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America. We began to come to terms with the shear size of this mystical park. Even near the park hot streams of smoke billowed out over hills bleached of all colors save for strange yellow green vegetation. The smell of sulfur cuts the air and puts one on notice to expect the unforeseen around every bend. The lake surface is near freezing even in the hot summer months, but the depth of the lake is constantly tepid.
For those that don’t wise up to such notices, the treasures housed and preserved in Yellowstone might blindside one with amazement. The park began its existence as the first national park in the world back in 1872 and that might not even be the novel feature. Though bison are some of the more recognized inhabitants they are not native and were introduced from the plains of the US. Now they find home all over the lands and often even on the roadway as we so often found out.
Yellowstone is not just a famous wildlife preserve, it is a one of a kind jewel in many respects. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone national park, fueled by the Yellowstone Caldera, an active volcano. Signs are abound all through the park of the energy escaping from below.
The scenery unfolded like a fancy banquet meal. Just when you think the best was sampled and appreciated, a new, more startling serving appears. Already buzzing from the magnificent scenery of the otherwordly steam vents and the bison we could not have prepared to see a black bear ever so nonchalantly grazing along the road. Such a sight makes you appreciate how impressive bears are and deeply question those that hunt them.
We spent the night at the historic and rustic Mammoth Hot Springs hotel, a remnant of the great hotels built in the early days of the park. On the way we gave a ride to three Taiwanese girls who of all places yearned to come work in Yellowstone for the summer to see the prize of the US. The girls were great to talk to and made us reflect on the fact that there are people all around the world that consider our national parks a feature destination while so many Americans regard them as relics of the pre-tech era.
As we felt remnants of the altitude and the exhaustion we took a some what delirious stroll to see the Mammoth Hot Springs as we waited for our food. The monuments could only be equaled, if that, in the finest of marbles.