Yellowstone National Park - Part I

This is what I want to say, "If you have the chance to visit only one place on this earth, Yellowstone National Park let it be!" But this is what I would say, "If you ever get a chance to come to US, don't miss visiting this wonder, that is Yellowstone National Park." We happened to visit it with our friends for the July 4th this year, and if I were to tell you I was awestruck by the beauty and the wonders of the place, it is an understatement. Though a lot has been said about this park at numerous places on the internet and elsewhere, everybody's experience is different and I would like to share mine with you.

We landed at Bozeman airport on day 0 and drove for 1.5 hrs to reach Gardiner where we booked our first cabin, located 5 miles from the North Entrance of the Park. It was a riverside cabin amidst hills and the location was serene and beautiful. We were the first to reach the cabin that evening (others were coming from Salt Lake City airport), so took quite a few pics and settled down in the patio overlooking the river. What a pleasant evening it was! Such quiet surroundings!  The rest of our friends (8 of them) reached around midnight while we were fast asleep.

Our first cabin close to Park's North Entrance

Next morning, on day 1, we headed to the Park after breakfast. One of our friends had been to the Park earlier and he has been a wonderful guide for us throughout the trip. The weather was pleasant and looked like it would rain a bit, so we headed to Lamar Valley. It is difficult to imagine a landscape more picturesque than what we saw there. Green hills, flowing streams, wild animals, cool breeze and perfect weather. We saw thousands of lazy bison grazing and elk hanging around. We noticed 'bear jams', stopped over and saw black bears. Then, we went for miles into narrow deserted lanes determined to spot a grizzly. What a trip to Yellowstone would it be, without seeing a grizzly? It started raining and when we almost lost hope and were about to merge into normal traffic, we saw one. A grizzly at a distance seeming to enjoy the rain. Everyone in the group was excited and declared the day to be a success. We then went to the 'Mammoth Hot Springs' and it is here that I was completely filled with awe. The travertine terraces, the super hot springs, all the different colors due to thermophiles (organisms living in the extreme heat), it all seemed like a miracle to me. Nature's miracle, it definitely is! 

The color palette thermophiles create!
Travertine terraces...Surreal, isn't it?





Our day 2 began with visiting the geyser basins. There are lots of them in the Park, the most notable being the Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Glacier in the Midway Geyser Basin and the Old Faithful Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin. We also enjoyed the jet geyser in the lower geyser basin which was fun with its unpredictable eruptions and water from the geyser sprinkling onto you at times.

Jet Geyser


In the evening on Day 2, we went to the Yellowstone Lake which is a breathtakingly picturesque lake (more so than Lake Tahoe in my opinion), given its vast size and pretty blue waters. We then went to see the sizzling basin consisting of Mud Volcano, Dragon's Mouth Spring and Sulphur Caldron which are pretty intriguing with all the peculiar sounds, sights and smell caused by different forms of sulphur. The gurgles and hisses of hydrogen sulfide, its rotten egg smell, the different shades brought out by iron sulfide and sulphuric acid intermixed with the mud and volcanic vents felt like a science fiction movie right in front of my eyes!! Yellowstone National Park, am sure, is God's big chemistry laboratory and how glad was I to be in it!! We then headed to the beautiful Hayden Valley and saw some wolves, thanks to the binoculars set up by wolf enthusiasts who apparently have been sitting there tracking wolves' movements for the past 5-6 hours. Lucky us!

To be continued here.

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