We packed up camp early in the morning and headed to Yellowstone National Park. We drove through the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance and paid the $30 entrance fee, which felt like a lot of money to me, but divided by 5, it’s only $6 per person, which isn’t a bad deal to experience mostly-unspoiled nature.
Once inside, we were greeted by deer. Now we had seen deer before, of course, but these deer were different. Regular deer seem to sneak around like fugitives, guiltily freezing in the headlights or fleeing to safety. But in Yellowstone, they own the place. Cars stop to let them cross the road, and they take their time doing it.
We parked the car. We weren’t prepared for the cold, so we piled on as many clothes as we had. Except for Kyle, who wore his short shorts.Our first visit was to one of the travertine terraces, all steamy and steppy.
There’s a lot of steam in Yellowstone, which really adds to the mysticalness. It’s like God’s fog machine.
Next we checked out the prismatic springs, deep holes in the ground with boiling hot water. They have organisms living in them that make the water look yellow, green and blue. Very beautiful, and yet I kept thinking about how terrible it would be to fall in.
These are tiny geysers, constantly spurting hot water and steam.This is Kyle, looking like a German tourist.There are a lot of dead trees in the thermal areas of Yellowstone. Behind the branches is one of the Artist’s Paint Pots. From the name, I expected these to be different colors, but they’re just white. It looks like white boiling paint. Which is pretty cool, if you’re not mislead by the name. I’m just saying, what kind of artist only uses white paint? House Painter’s Paint Pots is more like it.
This was an amazing view of a bunch of thermal hot spots. It felt like we were driving into Oz.Leaving the park was a little like walking down Main Street before leaving Disneyland. You’re saying goodbye to this magical, protected place and going out into the real world, where not everything is clean and beautiful. I mean, in Yellowstone, you can point your camera just about anywhere and get amazing photos. It makes me wonder what all of this land looked like to the pioneers.
No doubt, Yellowstone is a special place, and I’m glad Teddy Roosevelt had the foresight to protect it. We spent a day in the park and saw less than half of it, but we left inspired and determined to return next year.