Walks with Ella: Yellowstone


The textures and light of the canyon at sunset remind me of early American Plein Air paintings and the Hudson River School.

Cistern Springs, which drained during the last big eruption of nearby Steamboat Geyser.

Porcelain Basin, white with minerals

Looking at the falls from the south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone through the fog of wildfire smoke from Idaho.

Emerald Springs with its bubbles.

Ravens were quite tame in areas frequented by humans with their detritus. George had a long talk with this guy, who stoically posed for him.

Steamboat is also colorful.

Why did the bison cross the road?

To graze on the other side.

George, still mending from recent surgery, takes a break.

The Old Faithful Inn first opened in 1904. It has been designated by the AIA as one of America's favorite buildings.

Yellowstone, established in 1872 by Ulysses S. Grant, was the first National Park in the world. Originally managed by the U.S. Army, it was transferred to the infant National Park Service in 1917. The army infrastructure remains at Mammoth Hot Springs and is still used by NPS. The park is centered over the largest still active supervolcano in North America (yes, Virginia, there is a wee bit of factual basis for a wee bit of the movie 2012.) The bullseye for the caldera is Yellowstone Lake, which rose nearly 30 inches between 1923 and 2004, and lately has been rising nearly three inches a year. Fortunately, scientists think that the magma is still deep enough that we aren't in for any immediate problems. Still, there are frequent earthquakes releasing pressure.

So . . . there we were, only 40 miles away, and a whole day to use exploring. Little did we know that Yellowstone is not a dog-friendly place, so it was tricky to get Ella's walks in.


Old Faithful, which is, well, dependable.

And it blows. But these eruptions are tiny compared to the huge erutions it is capable of - more than 300 ft. The last time for a big one was in May, 2005.
There are also very beautiful very hot springs, where, as my friend Roger says, you can contemplate the last view a lobster might have as it drops into a pot on its way to being dinner.

The first thing most people think of in Yellowstone is geyers, especially Old Faithful.


Steamboat Geyser, the world's tallest active geyser, steams.

The smoke wasn't quite as bad on the north rim.

A view of the river from the north rim.

Smoke may block a lot of views, but it makes for brilliant sunsets. Several folks we met said they'd been to the Tetons earlier, but couldn't see them at all because of the smoke.

One of the many WPA buildings in the park. Porcelain Basin is on the other side.

Next usual thought: Animals, specifically bears and bison. We didn't see bears here, but the bison were healthy and magnificent. We also saw lots of chipmunks and ravens.

What a great surprise — the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Every view was a delight, in spite of the smoke.


A dystopian view of Cistern Springs.

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