Panorama with Bisons
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Yellowstone national park is definitely one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the
US I’ve seen so far. It covers an area of 3,468 square miles (8,983 km²), which which would
cover almost half of Slovenia (7,827 sq mi/20,273 km²).
The highest point in the park is Eagle Peak (11,358 ft/3,462 m) and the lowest is Reese Creek
(5,282 ft/1,610 m). It was established in 1872 as America's first national park. The amazing thing
about it is the fact that a large area of it (30 x 45 miles or 55 x 72 km) is actualy a crater of a
still active volcano and …one of the so called hot spots, which means that the earh’s crust here
is only 1 to 3 miles deep comparing to the 25 to 30 miles elsewhere.
It has five entrances. The original entrance to the park was the North Entrance which is the only one opened all year around
and welcomes you with a stone archway which was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt “for the benefit and
enjoyment of the people”.
A couple of miles south of the North entrance are located the Mammoth Hot
Springs. where travertine forms spectacular terraces, which are so white that it
looks like they would be covered by snow. It is here that you can see some of
the oldest rocks (2.7 billion years) and some of the latest deposits of travertine
(over two tons each day).
Yellowstone has more than 300 Geysers and over 10,000 other thermal features
that include hot springs, fumaroles, (steam vents), and mudpots.
Dragons Mouth Spring (B/W below) was my favorite
geothermal feature in the park – there were: steam,
loud roaring and waves of muddy water coming out
of the hole located on the side of the mountain.
Steamboat Geyser (left) is the world's tallest geyser. It is very unpredictable but when it erupts,
the water may be thrown more than 300 feet (90 m) into the air. The most famous geyser in the
park is Old Faithful (below) which you can count on to “perform” for you about every 90 minutes
or so and from 90 to 184 feet high. Mudpots were fun to watch too – although it is not the mud
that is boiling but gasses from the underground that make it bubble.
There are also numerous bacteria and
other thermophiles (heat-loving), with
unpronounceable names like
Candidatus chloracidobacterium
thermophilum, living in the hot waters
of various geothermal features. By the
color of the bacteria in the spring you
are able to determine the relative
temperature of it.
Yellowstone River
starts in the
Yellowstone Lake and
continues its way
through the park,
forming this incredible
canyon (up to 1,000
feet (304 m) deep))
which yellow rocks
gave the park its name.
One of the most famous vistas in Yellowstone, the Lower Falls, are 308 feet (94 m)
high, or almost twice as high as Niagara.
One of the park’s main attractions are also its animals. We have seen hoards of wild
bison, numerous elks, seven bighorn sheep, two coyotes and two swans, a wolf,
several pronghorns and a couple of chipmunks.
We were driving around in hopes to see a grizzly
bear but no luck this time. The regulations
concerning the animals in the park are very strict:
You can observe but not disturb, you can’t feed,
approach, follow, or surround them. Several people
die every year because they are not careful
enough. At the time of our visit the bison attacked
several parked cars and all the rangers did was
watch them. You are definitely a guest in their
world and animals have “the right of way”.
As we were leaving the park one day we happened to run into a group of
sheep (which we first though were the goats) and could not believe that
they can navigate such steep terrain.
One of the popular things to do in the park seems to be fly fishing and there
are also several picnic areas which we took advantage of but made sure
that we were not even close to the areas inhabited by the bears (although
they can be anywhere they do seem to prefer certain areas of the park).