America’s 1st

Happy 148th birthday to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park!

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“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

Check out some of my previous posts about Yellowstone by clicking here and here.  There are more blog posts about Yellowstone on here that you can find by just searching my blog by Yellowstone if you’re itching to read more!

To celebrate, take a minute and mark a visit to this amazing national park on your calendars. Check it off your bucket lists as it is a must vacation in your life!

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Cheers to 148 years!

Dreaming of…

On this February day, I sit distracted by thinking about bison jams. Yes, I said bison jams.

Last summer, we visited Yellowstone National Park and experienced (more than once) bison jams. If you ever visit this national park (while I highly recommend), you are bound to encounter this unique situation along on the park roads. It is literally what the name suggests – a bison (or many) strolling along the road causing traffic to pause or stop for some time.

These large animals will walk in front of your car, next to the car, or behind your car. They don’t have watches, so do not care about their pace or time of the day. They might play follow the leader or might butt heads. They might pause for a bite to eat next the road. They might even sit down for a nap.

Bison are amazing creatures. One of my favorites! American male bison weigh around 2,000 pounds!  Also, did you know that these huge mammals can run up to 35 mph? I wrote a previous blog about bison last year that you can read here if you’re interested in more bison information.

As I sit at my computer here, I keep picturing those bison jams from last summer. It’s a really amazing experience to have such a mammoth creature stroll by your car.

You can hear them breathe and snort. Our children could not believe these animals surrounded all these cars and just kept on their hike down the road.

I wonder what these animals think seeing all these cars with people inside holding some rectangle gadgets by the windows. I wonder if the bison like the paved roads or miss the entire area being unpaved. I wonder what bison dream about.

Back from my wonderings and dreams, go check out these unique visitor experiences in Yellowstone National Park. Trust me, it will stick with you beyond the moment.

Museum of the National Park Ranger

During our vacation in Yellowstone National Park this summer, we discovered the Museum of the National Park Ranger.

Built in 1908, the museum once served as the Norris Solider Station. It’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places. This spacious, multi-room log structure housed a detachment of U.S. Cavalry. The soldier station changed into a ranger station and underwent several room alterations before it finally became the Ranger Museum in the 1990s.

This cool museum takes you through the history and timeline of national park rangers in America. You can learn about their iconic uniforms, duties, hardships, lifestyle, and other cool facts here. They have some really great exhibits here! And you can even watch some short videos in a small auditorium in the museum (great opportunity to rest your tired legs and learn a few fun facts).

In addition, retired national park service rangers staff this museum giving visitors a great opportunity to ask questions about their past work and the national park.  Ask away as they love to chat!

If you’re in Yellowstone, take time to stop into this cool museum and check out the history here!

Enjoy some photos from inside the museum:

 

Grand Prismatic Spring 🌈

In July, we visited the Yellowstone National Park. We had a few must-see items on our list and it included the Grand Prismatic Springs.

We had missed seeing it on previous trips to Yellowstone, but I had seen photos and could not wait to see it in person! I should disclose that I love rainbows, color, and volcanic activity, so could not wait!

We had warnings of the crowds, so we started our day early. We enjoyed a nice hike to the area and then hiked up to the overlook.

These springs look amazing! 🌈 You can really see the rainbow of colors! It’s not photoshopped or edited and looks just as beautiful as the photos (if not more so). Gotta love that bacteria giving us these colors!

This is the largest hot springs in the United States and the third largest in the world.

Hayden Expedition of 1871 leader Ferdinand Hayden said this about the Grand Prismatic, “Nothing ever conceived by human art could equal the peculiar vividness and delicacy of color of these remarkable prismatic springs. Life becomes a privilege and a blessing after one has seen and thoroughly felt these incomparable types of nature’s cunning skill.

Add this amazing and beautiful hot springs to your bucket list to see in person! 🌈😊

Castle Geyser

One of the highlights from our trip happened by surprise. In Yellowstone National Park, we caught Castle Geyser erupting while literally standing next to it.

Most people think about Old Faithful when they picture Yellowstone National Park. However, Yellowstone has 500 amazing geysers and some 10,000 thermal features to check out!

Castle Geyser has the largest cone geyser and may be the oldest geyser in that area.  It’s named after looking like an old castle.

While the geyser’s eruption pattern has changed over time, it now goes off about every 12-14 hours unless it has minor eruptions which throw off the pattern at times.

The water eruptions from this castle shoot hot water up to 100 feet into the air for about 20 minutes! And then it blows some hot, noisy steam for around 30-40 minutes. The entire eruption can last about an hour.

We caught this eruption one day in July while visiting there. Our family loved it! Definitely a highlight from the trip!

Enjoy some photos and a video of this really cool geyser!

Bison

 

When you think about our national parks, what do you think about? Many people will say the wildlife.  Our national parks contain some amazing animals – on land, in the water, or even in our skies!  One of these amazing animals really awed me the first time seeing them – bison!

When you think about the American West, you can’t help but think about the American bison.

I will never forget driving into Yellowstone National Park and seeing my first herd of bison there.  They are such large, beautiful creatures.  American male bison weigh around 2,000 pounds!  Also, did you know that these huge mammals can run up to 35 mph?

It’s also pretty cool to think that these bison have lived in Yellowstone continuously since prehistoric times.  Millions used to roam North America along all parts of it.

So, are they called bison or buffalo?  Americans often refer to these creatures as buffalo.  Technically, they are bison. Bison fall into the same scientific family group as the Asian water buffalo and the African cape buffalo.  Back when European explorers came to America and saw the bison and thought that they looked similar to the Old World buffalo, so started calling them buffalo.  Yet, technically they are bison here in America.  Buffalo in Africa and Asia do not have a large hump by their shoulders that the bison have here.

The American bison have endured many challenges over the years. In particular, hunting and poaching dwindled their numbers down to about two dozen left.  Over many years, national park employees worked hard to bring the bison numbers back up in Yellowstone and avoid extinction.  These great animals still face challenges today, but the goals still exist to protect and best manage these mammals.

In 2016, bison were declared our national mammal because they are a symbol of wild America, an important part of our heritage, and a key player in an ecosystem that’s much larger than a national park.

During your next trip to Yellowstone National Park, remember that bison are wild animals. According to the NPS, bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal there. Stay at least 25 yards away from bison (if not more) as these great creatures can be unpredictable and run fast!

I can’t wait to see this great creature again out in the wild and roaming through the valleys of Yellowstone National Park!

First National Park

Cheers to Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park, celebrating 147 years of national park designation!

Enjoy a few photos below from our trips to this amazing national park!

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“There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.” ~ President Theodore Roosevelt