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Back to Yellowstone…
Day six was planned as the day we were going to meet Old Faithful. I know that it’s just a geyser, but I can’t remember a time when I hadn’t known of her existence. She was heralded as a living, breathing being that had to been seen at least once in one’s lifetime.
Our opinion after seeing her throw a tantrum?
|The pine trees in the distance are full grown.
The whole area of the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins is incredible. Like walking around on an alien planet that is constantly warning you to get back into your spaceship.
Completely normal, beautiful forests give way to exquisite cauldrons of turquoise water rimmed in bright orange rock. The color invites you to swim, promising an experience like the Caribbean. Then the smart part of your brain screams out, “No! It’s boiling!” And you nose is suddenly filled with the smell of rotten eggs.
The strangeness of the place is intoxicating and eye-opening. After all, nature is more than capable of protecting it’s existence so when I looked down to see this sign, I laughed out loud.
The land is not what’s fragile in Yellowstone.
The people are.
The upright-bags-of-mostly-water are the ones who cook in the mud pits, get eaten by the hungry bears, and drown in the raging rivers. Yellowstone does not need the people for it’s existence, it’s the people who try to calm her outrageous temper and primp her for their recreational pleasure.
This same day, as we were driving the many miles between West Yellowstone and The Lower Geyser Basin, a traffic jam suddenly appeared due to a buffalo sighting. Some crazy tree-hugger leans out of her window and screams, “Just leave the buffalo alone!” to the small band of tourists who were responsibly taking pictures.
Out of the blue (don’t laugh) my sarcastic nature blurted out, “They have the whole of Yellowstone. We can only go on this road, they should leave us alone!”
Some of you have just lost a lot of respect for me.
Others of you have just gained a lot of respect for me.
You all know how much I adore nature. It’s the people who act like they can actually protect it from other people that drive me crazy. People who live in urban areas and drive electric cars and have never tried to control nature.
They don’t know what past generations knew and what I have come to learn over the last two years.
It cannot be done.
You may be able to manage it for a moment in time but, before your body is cold, it will have retaken every bit of toil you expended in your lifetime.
Whew. Apparently that has been building for awhile. Now that my tirade is over, lets get back to our peaceful adventure to Yellowstone.
After spending most of the day at the Basins, we made a spontaneous turn down a road called Firehole Canyon Drive. This paved road winds parallel to the Firehole River and provides not only fantastic scenery, but great swimming opportunities.
The kids climbed in the back and changed into swimsuits, then rushed down to the rocky riverbed. For all the growing they have accomplished in the last few years, it’s not until you see your children in a rushing river at the bottom of a rocky canyon that you fully see how small they really are.
Or rather, how small we all really are.
|Ian swimming in Firehole River Canyon.
Because it was our last night in Yellowstone, we stopped by the Firehole Swimming Hole which can be reached by a walk down a steep flight of stairs. When the sun started to move behind the trees, we dragged the kids out of the water and returned to the RV park where we readied the trailer for the day’s trip to Grand Teton National Park.