This was my first visit to Yellowstone in 58 years. We took a guided tour in a Dodge Van with individual bucket seats. It was very comfortable and the guide very knowledgeable. He was a retired Park biologist.
Most of Yellowstone is actually the mouth (caldera) of a volcano that last erupted 640,000 years ago. The hot springs and geysers are all volcanic. A third of the caldera is a 400 ft deep lake at an elevation of 8,000 feet. The lake is filled with rain and melted snow water and even has a marina. The lake drains into the Yellowstone River which empties into the Missouri River.
A spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone contains two large waterfalls that are all visible from the parks along the way. The overlooks are very crowded with people trying to take photos of each other in front of the falls. Most of the ancient lava flows are covered with lodgepoll pines that are the only tree that will grow there. When the glaciers that covered the area a few thousand years melted and formed small lakes, the soil that was formed on the bottom now support meadows. The photo shows some of the 2,500 bison that are grazing in the park on one of these meadows. Last summer there were 5,000 bison, but in the heavy winter many died in the snow and the rest migrated to Montana and were shot. The farmers there don’t like wild bison on their fields.
Tomorrow is a rest day with no plan. Friday we cross the park and head for Cody, Wyoming.
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