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A Journal

Yellowstone Day 1 8-23-95

Yellowstone National Park is our destination. We’re not far yet just past Clearwater, Minnesota headed towards the north-western tip of Wyoming. I can’t wait.

Repetition, bales of hay scattered across parched grassland, small water holes occasionally. So many rolling hills starts to make me feel sea-sick. Fields of cows and the yellow skies of sunflowers. North Dakota.

Night 1

Our first night. Here we are. Well, not Yellowstone, but we are in the Dakota Badlands. Much greener than South Dakota. Roosevelt National Park. We’ll have to come back sometime. A large thunderstorm is coming in.

We decided to go on a car venture at about six o’clock last night. We drove awhile and passed the Prairie dog towns. A few miles later we saw a huge Buffalo about twenty feet away. We stopped and took pictures. He didn’t seem to mind the attention.

Eyes open looking at the beautiful coal veined earth, suddenly right in front of us fifteen wild horses were grazing. Two babies, a large matriarch, eleven mares and the stallion. We decided to go on. The stallion blocked our way and he stared at us a long time (what a beautiful animal). He moved on and started eating again. The storm was enlarging and the sky was turning green. We were going faster but not too fast now. I saw deer and still the magnificent Badlands. The sky was dark, but a spot of pink shown through the skyline.

We came upon stopped cars. Then we saw it, a herd of Buffalo running from the storm, crossing right in front of us. The mothers and babies went first, then the bulls, finally the strongest and largest bull went last slowly and gracefully watching over his herd. Still in awe, we drove back to the campground. We saw another buffalo ten feet away. Awaiting the storm we fell asleep.

Day 2

We’re in Montana now. I see why it’s called Big Sky country. Everywhere you look you see sky.

When my dad hitch-hiked through Montana once he was standing on a bridge and found his brother’s name written on it. We drove past it while I was sleeping. Jim hitch-hiked a year earlier than my dad had. We’re in Billings, Montana, 120 miles to Yellowstone. In the distance I can see a faint outline of the Rockies. At the closest peak I see snow, but where I am the air is hot and dry.

Day 3

We camped 67 miles from Yellowstone, in the Beartooth Range. It’s so beautiful here. Last night we went fishing, but didn’t catch anything.

It was freezing last night and this morning. My brother and I took a walk along the river. It is so clean and cold. I love the crisp air. The air is also very thin. We’re driving up the mountain on a very winding road. Wyoming Rockies.

At the top of the mountain there was a hill made of rocks. We climbed to the top and went down and up again to a higher peak. My dad stopped the car and we went to a hill to play in red snow.

Yellowstone is such a beautiful place. The fires burnt a lot of trees. The animals are free from hunters, so if you keep your eyes open animals are everywhere.

We are camping in Mammoth tonight. The hot springs are different than anything I’ve ever seen. Steaming and bubbling minerals, working and non-working, clear waterfalls, castles of limestone, and stairs of color.

Day 4

This morning was cold like all the rest.

We walked to the Boiling rivers. There is a place where the hot spring water comes into the river. We saw it the day before. The sulfur smell is potent, but we still bathed in the minerals. In spots it was very hot and in others it was warm. My favorite spot was a place where hot, warm and ice cold all went through at different times.

Our next stop is at the geysers. We saw one geyser at Norris. Then I got sick so we went back to camp. Later that evening we went again.

Porcelain Basin is very strange. We saw steam rising straight up. Small geysers erupt every minute. Pools are rapidly bubbling yet the ground is so barren.

This is the strangest place I’ve ever seen. Some of the pools you can’t even see the bottom of, others are milky, but every one is different.

Day 5

The canyon is so big. The water so clean. We’re at Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon now. We’re going to hike downhill to see a waterfall. Wow it’s beautiful, faster, faster, SPLASH! Steam flies and water goes on.

Day 6

Our first stop is Old Faithful.

I really enjoyed watching Old Faithful. It’s very different than the first one I saw. Now we’re watching Castle Geyser. I really, really like this one. The water flows over the side of the castle. A rainbow peeps through the steam and it shoots so high. After the water is done, steam billows out for hours.

Mud pots, colorful and clear pools of minerals, bubbling baths, and magnificent geysers are seen along our hike. It’s so sad to hear that people throw coins and all kinds of junk into these never-ending pools. We have been very lucky with geysers today. One geyser called the Penta that only goes off every five days erupted while we were there. As we were headed back we saw a small crowd gathered by Beehive Geyser. We walked over and waited. We almost left, but a lady told us it would go off in 15-20 minutes. We were very lucky.