Kasnick Photography - Yellowstone National Park
At last, the real beginning. I am not sure I felt like I was really
out west until I hit Yellowstone. Yellowstone, the grand-daddy
of all of the National Parks. What expectations! What a thrill!
And how tired I am from the 1600 plus miles I drove to get
here. Well, at least I have a bed right behind the drivers seat
so I can take the "famous nap" when required! But I digress.
So, what is Yellowstone anyway? We have all heard of the
features (things like old faithful geyser, mud springs, etc) but
what is the park like. Well, simply put it is the top of part of the
mountain range loosely defined as the Rockies. I think some
other ranges come in there, but for this page, think Rockies.
But it is not like the Colorado Rockies. We have all seen
those pictures, craggy peaks narrow passes, you get it.
These mountains have softer tops mainly. This means that
they have been worn down! Yep, in another billion years, they
will probably be flat! I forgot on the Badlands page, that they
will be flat in 500,000 years. Look out Nebraska, you're
getting more sand on your hills.
Well, anyway, these mountains are pretty flat after 7,000 feet.
They do have lots of peaks, valleys, waterfalls, etc. but they
also have some really large high mountain meadows. I mean
miles across. Now all of what I am describing here is also
shown in the slide show. Actually I am writing this first so I
don't miss anything in the slide show. But the most unique
feature of this range is the caldera. It is the largest caldera in
the world. A caldera is a giant bowl that has many access
holes to the center (piercing the mantle) of the earth. Talk
about getting to the center of your spirit, this is the earth we
are talking about getting to the center of your molten core!
So, that is what this is all about. Almost all of the really
beautiful things, waterfalls, geysers, bubbling springs, all
come about because of either high meadows (causing rivers
of runoff and lakes) or heat bubbling to the surface from the
center of the earth. The really hot part.
First the dimensions. The park is roughly 75 miles long by 60
miles wide. The caldera is about half of that in the center. So,
the roads are improved (paved) roads that connect things
that take hours to get to. The minimum distance from one
thing to another is about 15 miles, and sometimes 30 miles.
Starting at the top, we have Mammoth area. A giant flow of
minerals that still has some bubbling action. Of real note is
the upside down cone that was formed by a million years of
bubbling. Also, I took one shot to show how this feature sits in
the giant meadow! Then, coming down the east side we have
some waterfalls from Yellowstone River, Lake Yellowstone,
and some bubbling features. Down at the bottom, more
bubblies, then around and up the east side and we have
Grand-Daddy, then a few more bubblies, some mountain
roads and we are back to Mammoth. About 125 miles or so
with a few cross roads thrown in.
On this section, I also am labeling most of the pictures. That
is because the part is so diverse that you would be lost
without the labels.
One thing I must comment on is the grand-daddy. I took
pictures of the crowds so you can see what I mean about the
size of crowds. In most other features, I might see 10 people,
or in a big attraction 35 or so, but here, every 90 minutes -
500 or more show up. Wow...
What is the park without Animals? Well, I do not want to disappoint
anyone, but the park is down in that category right now. Maybe it was
the fire, but I talked to some folks that came here from Wisconsin in '95
and they saw stampedes of bison, and large herds of elk. This trip I
probably saw 30 bison total, and 15 elk. The wolves are down from a
high of 200 to only 120 or so. The rangers don't really know why, but the
Wisconsin man told me "an old wolves tale" that I will add later if my
fingers don't give out!