Friday, May 27, 2016

SPECIAL EDITION: YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Yellowstone National Park :  One of the most unique and beautiful parks in the world !

Yellowstone National Park is actually one of the few National Parks that I have visited, so I can give you some personal experience with this place.  I do love to highlight all the National Parks, and will continue to highlight more for a couple of reasons:  1- these National Parks are so beautiful.  They only become National Parks because they have a special place in everyone's hearts as a place that needs to be reserved for their beauty.  Keep it so it is a place that we can just enjoy the surroundings of the land and it's wildlife and 2- a place to get away from the rigors of the every day world of the city.  We just need to find a place that is "away" from it all.  And these National Parks are just remote enough that you can really enjoy the quiet. 

Yellowstone is a very unique park in that it not only has very unique and beautiful scenery, but, has a huge variety of mysterious earth happenings that are so rare, and the world can get close to it.  Geysers, hot pots, boiling water or hot springs all at the surface.  To me it is like a volcano that has not come to a head.  As you go through this article and gallery, you will be amazed at the things this park has to offer and see.  This place holds such mystery of the earth that you can see and feel, it is almost scary. 

Let's take a look at what Wikipedia says about Yellowstone:

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872.[4][5] Yellowstone, the first National Park in the U.S. and widely held to be the first national park in the world,[6] is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park.[7] It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.
Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years.[8] Aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Management of the park originally fell under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior. However, the U.S. Army was subsequently commissioned to oversee management of Yellowstone for a 30-year period between 1886 and 1916.[9] In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.
Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2),[1] comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.[7] Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.[10] Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism.[11] Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone.[12]
Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened.[7] The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the Continental United States. Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. The Yellowstone Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park was burnt. Yellowstone has numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and sightseeing. Paved roads provide close access to the major geothermal areas as well as some of the lakes and waterfalls. During the winter, visitors often access the park by way of guided tours that use either snow coaches or snowmobiles.



One thing I noticed that Wikipedia doesn't mention that I think is real unique about Yellowstone that I remember is that it also has the "continental divide" going through the park as well.  For those who aren't familiar with the continental divide, it is simply this:  the continent has rivers that either start at one part of the country and all go to the east side of the country, while on the other side of the divide, the rivers go to the west side of the continent.  That is the continental divide.  Hard to believe, you have to go all the way to the Rocky mountains before you get to the continental divide.  And it does go right through Yellowstone National Park.  You will also notice that this Park was the first National Park ever established in the United States.  I think it was because the people who saw it first were in shock of what they found there. 

Alright, it's time for pictures and explanations of this park.  Wildlife, waterfalls, geysers, and everything that the world wants to see in a park is right here.  Let's start with something real unique:

This grizzly bear wanted a carcass along the Lamar River all to himself, so when this wolf showed up the grizzly exploded into a full charge straight at it. The wolf wanted nothing to do with the charging grizzly and sprinted as fast has it could in the opposite direction! The chase lasted for several hundred yards until t...he grizzly was satisfied the wolf wouldn't come back. We were about three hundred yards away when we took this shot so it's quite grainy and blurry, but it still certainly "paints the picture". The Lamar Valley is sometimes called "America's Serengeti" because of all the amazing wildlife that inhabits this famous Yellowstone Park valley.


GRAY WOLF, YELLOWSTONE PARK
We snapped this shot of this gray wolf at Twin Lakes in Yellowstone National Park. HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE SEEN A WOLF IN THE WILD?


GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is truly one of America's greatest natural treasures, and is without question a "must see" while vacationing in Yellowstone Park. Aside from the breath-taking grandeur of this magnificent canyon, Lower Falls takes this grandeur to even a higher level! Shown in this photo we snapped from Artist ...Point along the canyon rim, at 308 feet in height Lower Falls pours into the mouth of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and is the centerpiece of this iconic place.


BUFFALO (BISON) JAM, YELLOWSTONE PARK
These buffalo (bison) were taking their own sweet time crossing this bridge in Yellowstone Park. We were first in line...and by the time the "buffalo (bison) jam" was over, there were over 50 cars behind us. Gotta Love It! A Yellowstone Park vacation wouldn't be complete without having to sit through a "buffalo jam".


GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING, YELLOWSTONE PARK
We snapped this shot of Grand Prismatic Spring from a vantage point just off the trail heading for Fairy Falls. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest hot spring in the world. Located in Midway Geyser Basin, this massive spring is 370 feet wide and 121 feet deep. The te...mperature is 160 degrees F. Without a doubt Grand Prismatic Spring is an iconic landmark of Yellowstone Park, and is a "must see" while visiting Yellowstone Park.


RIVER OTTER WITH CUTTHROAT TROUT, YELLOWSTONE
We were lucky enough to be there to watch this river otter catch a small cutthroat trout near Yellowstone Lake.


BULL ELK, YELLOWSTONE PARK
This bull elk was removing snow with his front hooves to get to the grass along this barren hillside between Mammoth and Tower Junction in Yellowstone Park. Winter isn't an easy time for these animals, and one can't help but think that they are looking forward to Spring


MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, YELLOWSTONE PARK
Unlike many of the other geothermal features in Yellowstone Park during the winter, Mammoth Hot Springs is open year round to wheeled vehicles. Located near the North Entrance at Gardiner Montana, Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the iconic of Yellowstone National Park, and is definitely a "must see" while visiting Yellowstone, no matter what the season


AUTUMN SUNSET ON YELLOWSTONE LAKE
A few days ago we enjoyed this spectacular sunset on Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. DID YOU KNOW that Yellowstone Lake is the largest fresh water lake over 7,000 feet in North America? At 7,732 feet above sea level, Yellowstone Lake spends over seven months each year covered in ice. In the next few weeks Yellowstone Lake will begin to freeze over, and it will remain frozen until June. The ice will reach over 3 feet in thickness. 


HAPPY 3RD & 4TH OF JULY: INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND!
We don't have a photo of fireworks, but this shot of Old Faithful erupting is even better! We snapped this shot from Observation Point...which is a great vantage point to view the entire Old Faithful Area. Old Faithful is one of the most recognized American Icons in the country, and is loved by not only Americans, but many folks around the world. What a great symbol for our great country!!


Yellowstone experiences thousands of small earthquakes every year, virtually all of which are undetectable to people. There have been six earthquakes with at least magnitude 6 or greater in historical times, including a 7.5‑magnitude quake that struck just outside the northwest boundary of the park in 1959. This quake triggered a huge landslide, which caused a partial dam collapse on Hebgen Lake; immediately downstream, the sediment from the landslide dammed the river and created a new lake, known as Earthquake Lake. Twenty-eight people were killed, and property damage was extensive in the immediate region. The earthquake caused some geysers in the northwestern section of the park to erupt, large cracks in the ground formed and emitted steam, and some hot springs that normally have clear water turned muddy.[51] A 6.1‑magnitude earthquake struck inside the park on June 30, 1975, but damage was minimal




HOW FAST CAN A GRIZZLY BEAR RUN?
Grizzly bears are extremely fast. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a full grown grizzly bear can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour for short ranges (200 to 400 yards), which is faster than a race horse. Yellowstone Park scientist have clocked a grizzly bear at 25 to 28 miles per hour for 2 solid miles,
... and they remarked that the bear was simply in a lumbering gait and hadn't even worked up a sweat. Other studies have shown grizzly bears to run at a steady pace of 30 miles per hour for over a quarter of a mile. And by the way, grizzly bears can run up hill as well as down hill. To put this in perspective, if a grizzly bear is half the length of a football field away (50 yards), it will be at your side in less than 3 seconds. HOW FAST CAN THE AVERAGE HUMAN RUN? According to the National Council on Strength and Fitness, the average human can run about 15 miles per hour for a relatively short distance (less than 100 yards). So what's the bottom line? You will never, ever, ever, outrun a grizzly bear. So obviously the best thing to do is avoid a problem with a grizzly bear


A geyser / mud pot.  Because these come out of the earth, sometimes the smell of these reminds you of boiled eggs, or sometimes worse, like rotten boiled eggs.  But, it is a good thing that they are pretty, and worth the trip.


About thirty-five natural forest fires are ignited each year by lightning, while another six to ten are started by people— in most cases by accident. Yellowstone National Park has three fire lookout towers, each staffed by trained fire fighters. The easiest one to reach is atop Mount Washburn, though it is closed to the public. The park also monitors fire from the air and relies on visitor reports of smoke and/or flames.[111] Fire towers are staffed almost continuously from late June to mid-September— the primary fire season. Fires burn with the greatest intensity in the late afternoon and evening. Few fires burn more than 100 acres (40 ha), and the vast majority of fires reach only a little over an acre (0.5 ha) before they burn themselves out.[112] Fire management focuses on monitoring dead and down wood quantities, soil and tree moisture, and the weather, to determine those areas most vulnerable to fire should one ignite. Current policy is to suppress all human caused fires and to evaluate natural fires, examining the benefit or detriment they may pose on the ecosystem. If a fire is considered to be an immediate threat to people and structures, or will burn out of control, then fire suppression is performed.[113]



1988 started with a wet spring season although by summer, drought began moving in throughout the northern Rockies, creating the driest year on record to that point. Grasses and plants which grew well in the early summer from the abundant spring moisture produced plenty of grass, which soon turned to dry tinder. The National Park Service began firefighting efforts to keep the fires under control, but the extreme drought made suppression difficult. Between July 15 and 21, 1988, fires quickly spread from 8,500 acres (3,400 ha; 13.3 sq mi) throughout the entire Yellowstone region, which included areas outside the park, to 99,000 acres (40,000 ha; 155 sq mi) on the park land alone. By the end of the month, the fires were out of control. Large fires burned together, and on August 20, 1988, the single worst day of the fires, more than 150,000 acres (61,000 ha; 230 sq mi) were consumed. Seven large fires were responsible for 95% of the 793,000 acres (321,000 ha; 1,239 sq mi) that were burned over the next couple of months. A total of 25,000 firefighters and U.S. military forces participated in the suppression efforts, at a cost of 120 million dollars. By the time winter brought snow that helped extinguish the last flames, the fires had destroyed 67 structures and caused several million dollars in damage.[53] Though no civilian lives were lost, two personnel associated with the firefighting efforts were killed.
Contrary to media reports and speculation at the time, the fires killed very few park animals— surveys indicated that only about 345 elk (of an estimated 40,000–50,000), 36 deer, 12 moose, 6 black bears, and 9 bison had perished. Changes in fire management policies were implemented by land management agencies throughout the United States, based on knowledge gained from the 1988 fires and the evaluation of scientists and experts from various fields. By 1992, Yellowstone had adopted a new fire management plan which observed stricter guidelines for the management of natural fires.[53]


If Winter could be classified as beautiful, then this is the place.  Tourists have found there way here in the winter
by way of snowmobile and any other way they can to see the beauty of winter. 


And of course, you can't help falling in love with the scenery, right?


So, I hope you have enjoyed this gallery of photos and information about Yellowstone.  One quick personal story of Yellowstone:  One time when my family was visiting Yellowstone, I, as a photographer was amazed at the beautiful scenery there.  But, I noticed the tourists seemed more fascinated by the wildlife.  Every time you saw a huge crowd of cars, you would bet that they were all gathered around looking at the wildlife.  Well, one time I was driving through the park, saw this beautiful meadow, and I pulled over to take a picture of the scenery in front of me.  Breathtaking scenery, I thought.  Get my camera settings and polarizing filter all set, and all of a sudden I see about 10 cars pull up and they are all wondering what animal I am taking pictures of.  "I am taking a picture of this beautiful scenery. I am not taking pictures of any animals now".  And they all looked at me like I was some kind of weirdo.  Well, photographers have a lonely life, thank heavens.   Enjoy the beauty of this wonderful National Park.  You have it all.

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