Saturday, August 13, 2016

'Merica, You Are Beautiful

Oftentimes, I think that we take our country and it's beauty for granted; I know I do.  Dr. C. has always wanted to go to Yellowstone, and so I decided we'd celebrate our anniversary by going to Yellowstone for 6 days.  I really didn't want to think on this trip, or do the driving around this vast National Park, so I did something I never do, and booked a tour; yes, that's right, this introvert was getting on a 40 passenger bus with 33 other strangers---I did it for love, since it was our 45th anniversary.  (If you are interested in doing this, click here for the website)
We flew into West Yosemite, Montana (check another state off the visit list) and shuttled into the park to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, our first overnight stay.  The trip included everything, even gratuities.  We were assigned a tour guide, and driver, who took us out every day.  This park is so large that it would be impossible to see it all, but we hit all the highlights.  Our first day out, we visited Old Faithful (across the parking lot)  Old Faithful erupts every 90 minutes or so, and early in the morning the crowds are smaller.

After the eruption, we headed to the Grand Prismatic Spring.  It's a geyser basin with this incredible thermal spring. 
I didn't take this photo, since it's impossible to get an overhead shot. 

There is steam everywhere in Yellowstone, since you are walking on a super volcano.  We spent the days in the caldera.
This was our limo for the week
Day 2 had us out in the valleys, seeing Bison, and other animals. 

Not the most attractive animals in the world
A trip to Cooke City, Montana and there is a Hoosier Bar (not open)

Can't imagine what it is like in the winter, since there is still snow on the high elevations in August.

Beautiful waterfalls

Capturing a rainbow

Teddy Roosevelt loved Yellowstone, and camped somewhere near this place

Stagecoach ride; the kids on the top loved it!
The gate at Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

More thermal pools

Our last day, we were treated to a ride in these 1937 buses that have been refurbished; it was a blast!
What I loved most about this trip was getting to spend it with Dr. C, but I came away grateful to those visionaries who knew that this diverse wilderness area should be preserved for future generations. 
We covered all the high spots in the park, and had a great time.  We met people from all over the world, not only were they on our bus, but they worked in the restaurants, and hotels. Our weather couldn't have been better, in the mid to high 70's during the day and cooled down to the 40's at night. I highly recommend this trip: the wide open spaces, beautiful scenery and the opportunity to see an unspoiled wilderness were all highlights for us.  This year the National Park Service is celebrating it's 100th anniversary, and we should all celebrate the fact that these beautiful parks have been preserved for all to enjoy. 

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