Saturday, May 26, 2012

Last Saturday's Loop

It's a good thing we went to Yellowstone last weekend.  The weather there this weekend has been cold and wet.  Last Saturday was a great day.  We finally did the internal loop tour inside Yellowstone.  You can see it in the graphic below.  It's about 110  miles after adding in the various side jaunts around West Thumb, Lake Village, Yellowstone Falls Artist Point, Inspiration Point, Norris Campground, Norris Geyser Basin and the old road past Firehole Falls.  We were out over 8 hours.  It's the best way to see the essence of this giant National Park.  Yellowstone is basically a different world.  There are over 300 geysers there and who knows how many hot spring, mud pots and steaming holes.  You are, indeed, on the inside of a restless volcanic caldera.  The park records hundreds of small earthquakes each year and the lava dome under Yellowstone Lake us supposedly rising a little bit each year. Over the past few million years, the Yellowstone Volcano has erupted three times.  One eruption spread ash over more than half of the country.  Two eruptions spread ash down in Arizona.  People say if the volcano erupts again it might obliterate much of the Western US as we know it.  Of course, Yellowstone lives on a different time than we do.  We live in human time where seconds, minutes and hours rule our lives.  Yellowstone lives on geologic time where the whole history of mankind would be perhaps a second or two on the earth's intergalactic geologic clock.  Traveling through Yellowstone is one of those humbling experiences that puts our own little lives into perspective.  The park is so vast and contains such incredibly complex resources it's probably unlikely that any one, single human being can say they actually "KNOW" all there is to know about Yellowstone.  Some scientists think that we've documented only perhaps one-percent of the life forms in the park.  Sure, it's easy to count buffalo but what about the amazing array of different life forms that live in the blazing hot thermal pools?  This trip to Yellowstone really helped us both grasp the park's vastness and unfathomable-ness.  We will keep venturing to Yellowstone.  Our next trip will be in late June when we show it to Joshua for the first time.  We will never tire of this place.  It's a lot like the Grand Canyon.  Once it gets in your psyche, it never leaves.

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