Yellowstone – Washington’s Gem

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Even though I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park before, I’m still amazed at the natural beauty of the diverse landscape, some of it making you think you’re on the moon. Giant forests, volcanic activity, and assorted animals that are allowed to roam free. If it wasn’t for the thousands of tourists, and hundreds of vehicles that carry them, it would be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

IMG_3819Actually, traffic would flow well through the park, but any animal sighting means that traffic comes to a standstill, even though there are plenty of signs warning vehicles not to stop on the roadway. Some folks will do anything to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Several have been gored by the wild buffalo lately.

We entered the park through the west gate and were immediately greeted by winding roads and the scent of pine from the heavy coniferous forest on both sides of us. There is one section on the west side of the park where you can still see the damage from a forest fire. Mother nature is doing a great job of nursing the area back to health.

IMG_3829Barely into the park, you are treated to your first view of sulfur springs and bubbling cauldrons. The hot chemically-laced water scars and stains the earth with an array of colorful residue. Some can be seen only a few feet from the road, if you don’t want to fight the crowds in the parking lots and on the boardwalks.

A trip to Yellowstone wouldn’t be complete without visiting Old  Faithful. No matter how old she gets, it still blows water and steam every 90 minutes, give or take 10. It showed us three little false starts to get everyone’s cameras clicking, until she went off about 8 minutes late.

IMG_3861While we waited for Old Faithful, we walked around the area and were treated to a surprise eruption of the Beehive geyser. Apparently it only goes off once or twice a day. Those who were standing close by got a wet surprise when it blew.

Our biggest treat of the day occurred on the way out of the east side of the park, while we were enjoying a mountain-top ride though amazing rocky scenery. When we came around a sharp bend in the road, on an incline, a humongous buffalo came out of the shrubs and entered the roadway.

We surprised each other. He paused mid-step and Cathryn let out a shriek. I motioned for her to get a snapshot as we drove by, and before he came any closer. I’m sure any traffic behind us stopped for their Kodak moment; if we tried to stop I probably would have dropped the bike, or have gotten quite intimate with the big boy.

IMG_3886The alpine views heading out of the park, and into northern Wyoming were breath taking. It was easily some of the best scenery we’ve seen this trip.

 

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