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OT: Back from Yellowstone National Park

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  • sarah_inseattle
    Hi Everybody, Our family has just returned from a two-week camping trip featuring one week at Yellowstone National Park. It is mostly in the state of Wyoming,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2007
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      Hi Everybody,

      Our family has just returned from a two-week camping trip featuring
      one week at Yellowstone National Park. It is mostly in the state of
      Wyoming, USA. Our first national park and (they claim) the world's
      first national park, Yellowstone is most famous for the geyser, "Old
      Faithful." The geo-thermal landscapes in this park are just stunning,
      and the scenery at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is
      outstanding. Pranlobha took lots of photos and I am sure she can be
      persuaded to put some up on her gallery when she can find time. We'll
      keep you posted on that.

      Yellowstone Park is said to contain 2/3 of all the world's geo-
      thermal features, with more than 60 geysers, and I don't know how
      many thermal hot springs, fumaroles, and other steaming what-nots.
      Many times while walking through flat, white, steaming basin-lands I
      was watching for dinosaurs. It was so primeval and other-worldly.

      Many of the springs are so hot they approach (and even exceed)
      boiling point. They steam constantly. Most of them are magnificent
      shades of my blue, which also happens to be my favorite color.
      Brightly colored heat-loving bacterium called "thermophiles" live in
      the run-off waters. Different thermophiles grow in different water
      temperatures. So, a breathlessly beautiful blue pool may be
      encircled by brilliant green, yellow, and rust-colored thermophiles.

      In one famous pool, ("Grand Prismatic Spring") the steam above took
      on the colors of the pool. So a vibrant blue mist hung and curled
      above the blue waters. Where the mist hung over yellow thermophiles,
      it became yellow.

      There are lots of images of aerial views of Grand Prismatic Springs
      on the web, but here's one I chose at random. Notice the boardwalk
      with people walking on it - we were there!

      http://www.astrosurf.com/luxorion/Documents/yellowstone-grand-prismatic-spring.jpg

      Some of the geysers erupt on what seems to be a totally random
      schedule, and others (such as Old Faithful) are somewhat predictable
      ("give or take two hours" for instance.) I really enjoyed the
      chances I had to hang around some of the famous geysers waiting for
      them to erupt. There is lots of suspense, subtle changes that let
      you know something is coming, and then each one puts on a different
      kind of show. They each seem to have their own, distinct
      personalities. It reminded me of watching fireworks.

      And the *sounds* these geysers make! Growling, roaring, soaring
      power-jets, with water falling like heavy rain in pools and run-
      offs. (Afterall, what goes up, must come down.)

      It was also fascinating to learn that water in these erupting geysers
      is thought to have fallen as rain hundreds of years of years ago.
      And there it was, bursting high into the air, seeing the light of day
      for the first time in centuries.

      It was truly inspiring to see these unique aspects of our mother
      earth's power and beauty.

      By the way, did you know there are "Geyser Gazers?" And some even
      call themselves "Geyser Gazer Geezers." It is a whole sub-culture.
      Who knew? But I can surely understand the addictive quality of
      geyser-watching.

      Okay, okay, I'll stop "gushing" about Yellowstone now!
      :-)

      Sarah
      Seattle
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