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  • Writer's picturePru Warren

The Jewel in the National Park Crown

July 28, 2023


It’s not that most of Yellowstone looks like it’s been created by CGI experts—it’s that the CGI experts have been to Yellowstone and decided THAT was what they were going to recreate. And because Yellowstone has at least eight hugely-different biomes in one eight-hour drive (and we only did the upper loop of the park), no set designer has to go very far to find a model, for example, of hell-with-the-roof ripped off.


This is the Norris Geyser Basin, which would be a purely SPECTACULAR place to dispose of the body in any thriller. Nudge Aunt Marge into the seething cauldron of mud and walk away. Oh, I don’t know—last I saw her, she was at the museum. Marge—where are you, dear?


There are waterfalls that ripple down rocks. (“That would be fun to slide down, huh, Rusty?” “That would be death, Mom. DEATH.” This from the young man who believes he ought to be able to pet or at least talk to a grizzly bear.)



There are waterfalls that cascade in thundering drops.



There are pools of water so clear you can see to the center of the earth…but the water is possibly as pure as any drinking water on the planet OR seething hot and composed mostly of sulphuric acid, so get Aunt Marge to try a sip first.



There are canyons carved by endless rushing water through solid stone to a depth beyond reasonable thought..



There are wildflower meadows edged by lodgepole pines.



There are alpine curves and folds that look like wherever they filmed The Sound of Music, with landscapes so vast and looking so magnificently manicured that the whole place almost demands one burst into song. (Our guides, Isla and Kaitlyn, didn’t seem to invite choruses as Jack the fisherman did, but they were darling anyway.)



And there is broad valley where herds of bison roam with undeniable confidence.



We had lunch here, until a large bison came up behind us and we decamped quickly just in case.



In all, we saw a coyote (we passed by too quickly for a photo) and a chipmunk…



…an elk…



…and many, many bison.



We did not see bears or moose, but it wasn’t for lack of in-car chanting.



The next time we come back, we’re going to tour the lower loop, to do things like Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic…but I wouldn’t have skipped the Lamar Valley or any of the places we stopped today to see the lower loop. Next time.


Good tour!


Home tomorrow, which will be too painfully tedious to relate, so safe to assume I’m done blogging this trip. It was a honey!

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