We live near enough to Yellowstone National Park that we can do a drive-by visit in a day. We’ve been there in all kinds of weather and seen a lot of nature and a lot of changes.
Even from our home about two hours’ drive away we could see the huge clouds of smoke rolling into the sky most of that summer. The conflagration was fought by thousands of firefighters with everything from airplanes dumping fire retardant to people on the ground with shovels. The final flames were not extinguished until snow fell that October. For more on the fire check the link at the end of this post.
Another change is the introduction of wolves. The undertaking is controversial, but for those in favor of the wolves it has been a success.
For the first time in my life I was able to see a wolf in the wild. He was pointed out by a group of photographers lining the highway.
My photos are blurry since the wolf was far away, but there he was casually stopping to check for rodents in the grass and then trotting off.
There are still geysers--
--and more geysers--
--and hot bubbling mud pots---surrounded by people posing for photos.
We arrived at the village surrounding Old Faithful Geyser just as it was spouting. We could see the water jet into the air from the parking lot. But there was no place to park. We’d seen the display plenty of times so we just circled until it was all over. Within minutes the people cleared the area and we found a parking spot. We still had a big problem. We’d been driving all morning and needed to make a pit stop. Most of the crowd had left Old Faithful and lined up at the bathroom.
I have a theory about Old Faithful Geyser. I think all the pressure from tourist bathroom flushing is channeled into pipes that go to that big fountain. When enough flushing force is built up--the geyser blows. Could this be why they won’t let people anywhere near the spouting water? And maybe all those piles of do-do around the geyser are not left by the buffalo.