Star Mountain

My travels and other interests

WY- Yellowstone National Park (2017)

Yellowstone is a familiar name in national parks. As a symbol of American West, it offers majestic views of mountains, rivers, water falls, deep canyons, green valleys and plain meadows. It is wilderness, unspoiled. Hundreds of bison migrating. Grizzly bears roaming. Moose, elk, deer, coyote and wolves go around in their natural habitat. Above all this is where you can feel the geology of Mother Earth. She reveals her hidden secrets. You get a link to the magma deep inside. It shows up outside as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumeroles. It is a chosen place on earth where geological forces are at work right in front of you. Understanding Yellowstone is understanding its geology, enjoying its natural beauty and appreciating its wild life, plants and birds.

Yellowstone is huge. It has 2.2 million acre (3500 sq. miles) area spread across three states (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho). Two US States- Delaware and Rhode Island can easily fit in. It was recognized as a National Park by US Government in 1872 and a World Heritage site by United Nations in 1978. A good number of people (3.8 million) visit each year.

We stayed nearby in West Yellowstone, Montana, and visited the park two consecutive days. The major attractions are located in two grand loops that shape like number “8”. The circumference of short loop is 70 miles and long loop is 100 miles.We didn’t cover all but got a chance to look at many important geological features, few water falls and a small number of wild life. Needless to say a park of this size and variety requires more time in a single visit and more visits at different seasons to grasp its full beauty.

A large fire in 1988 consumed 36% of the park. At one point 9000 fire fighters were working to stop them.Today scientists believe that forest fires are part of the natural life and regrowth of nature. Our guide pointed out numerous evidences to support this fact. The abundant lodgepole pine trees (80% of forest) release their seeds from their cone only when the temperature is hot. A new generation of pine trees is seen in the park today.

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