Friday, August 03, 2007

Day Nine - Yellowstone

Aside from Lake Titicaca, Yellowstone Lake, sitting at about 7,700 feet, is the largest high altitude lake in the world. It doesn't, however, have quite as good a name. We struck out early headed for Jackson Hole as we scooted through the Tetons too quickly the first time to get to Yellowstone. So, we had some unfinished business. It was then a driving day and Yellowstone Lake was the only thing we hadn't previously seen.

Aside from the usual few stops for some geothermal sites, a buffalo traffic jam, and a grizzly too far away to appreciate, it was a short drive to the Lake. One way to illustrate the size of the lake is that the Yellowstone River flows directly out of the lake as a very large, full blown, river. It's big, right away. Over geological time Yellowstone Lake has drained into the Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean via Hudson Bay, but it now drains into the Atlantic via the Gulf of Mexico (via the Missouri and the Mississippi).The Lake is 20 miles long, 14 miles wide, and 320 feet deep at its deepest point averaging about 150 feet deep.

We left the lake and Yellowstone and drove toward Jackson.

Allow me a few reflections on Yellowstone. There is no doubt YNP is a special place - it is home to many "onlys" in the world, and even if some of the spectacles are located in other places, they are indeed rare. It is a unique and special place deserving of its reputation, but aside from the geothermal wonders and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone the place is no different than any one of hundred places I've been. The landscape is not spectacular, actually rather plain. The Winds, for example , are magnificently beautiful. Consider this: you could drop YNP in many places in Wyoming and quite possibly find only a handful of people, if any - not a million, plus. That very fact draws me to the other places. But, and this is big - what does makes the landscape unique is the variety and number of wildlife. I wish the surprise and wonder of those animals existed in more places. The draw of the wildlife is clear - people discuss the animals, stop for the animals, and clearly adore each sighting.

I'm beginning to think we've done ourselves a disservice.

1 comment:

  1. Man, I am really enjoying your vacation!!!



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