I feel somewhat guilty about the thermal features in the park.
There's no doubt they are a marvel, a sight not seen anywhere else
in this magnitude anywhere in the world. They can put on a dazzling
explosive show and be colorful beyond belief. They have fascinated
people for many years and I do really enjoy seeing them.
I take pictures and ooh and ah with everyone else and do watch the Old Faithful webcam
religiously to see the geyser go off when I'm not fortunate enough to be in the park.
The problem though is the rest of the park. As much as I love the thermal activities
I love the wildlife more. So while I'm watching Old Faithful I'm wondering what the
Druid wolves are up to. While I'm looking at Morning Glory pool I'm wondering if
the grizzlies hang out here at all. While I'm smelling the mudpots I'm wondering
if there are any otters along the lake. In short as I'm experiencing these wonders
and appreciating them I'm torn toward what I love more. I do try to love the one I'm with but I have my limits.
I think it would just be better for me if the thermal features were in a different
geographic location so I could focus better. A seperate thermal park would be good where
I could go without distraction but then they add so much magic to the park that I truly love them here.
It's also hard for me to enjoy the geysers and hot springs in peace because
of the crowds they attract (as well they should.) I partially go to Yellowstone
to embrace the solitude and that is just not generally available in the geyser basins.
My plan now is when Dad and I make our annual fishing trip in August we'll also go
to the geysers and Hot Springs. At that time of year the animals are seeking the
coolness of elevation and so are up high and not easily seen so I won't be so torn.
I at least want to get some decent photos of the geysers and pools to look at when
I get home. With a number of photos I may not feel it so necessary to go look at the thermal features again.
One of my favorite thermal features was one of the most insignificant. Dad and I were
fly fishing the upper Gibbon on a warm day in August. We weren't catching
at all but we did learn a great deal about the mud "traps" of Yellowstone. We
had gone a ways up the river and in our attempts to get back we ran into some
muddy areas that actually seemed life threatening. They were very difficult
to go through so we ended up bushwhacking over deadfall (always a joy)
when we came across a very small trickle of a stream. It looked like any
other small stream except I noticed it was smoking. We stopped and held
our hands a few inches above the water and the heat that little stream put
out was alarming. I'm glad we didn't just stick our fingers in it. So here
was a tiny hot spring (one of thousands I'm sure) out here where no one paid
it any attention. It was small and not too showy but it was our private thermal feature for a time.
When you think about it, hot springs are basically water heated up by molten magma close to
the earth's surface and it gets pushed up until it trickles out of the ground. It
kind of makes your mind go all fuzzy and then it makes you walk quickly back to your car.
Tim Springer - 2004
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