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  • Writer's pictureSandra

Yellowstone National Park (WY) - Olymp of all National Parks!

Although the Grand Teton area is a magical place, it was only the prelude to the real highlight and Olympus of all national parks.

Established in March 1872, it is the oldest national park in the world and covers an area of ​​approximately 9,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Corsica. Located primarily in Wyoming but also stretching as far as Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park features breathtaking canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, thermal springs and sparkling geysers. For the first geyser we hiked almost 8 kilometers (back and forth). This partially paved trail follows an old side road along the Firehole River.

When we arrived, the hot water spring caused by volcanism, which erupts approximately every 3 hours, was dormant. Enough time to catch your breath; we waited more or less patiently.

From time to time it steamed and bubbled a little, which is why we were in constant expectation.

But it took more than 2 hours until something finally happened.

The first eruption was still relatively restrained, but soon after the Lone Star sprayed all its charm.

In moving pictures it looked like this

Lennox was unfazed, finding the walk before and after much more exciting. If I probably saw it that way too, I would have noticed the bison that was standing right next to the path between the trees, as Sebastian told me. At least the Kepler Cascades couldn't be overlooked and didn't even require a further walk since they are located directly on the road.

Next we went to the Upper Geyer Basin. The Upper Geyser Basin, also known as the Old Faithful Region, is the region in the park that has the highest concentration of geothermal features in the park. While most people gathered around Old Faithful to watch its eruption, I followed a series of boardwalks, paved and dirt trails through the Basin to see more incredible geysers and hot pools. To admire everything, you can easily cover up to 10 kilometers there. That was understandably too much for Sebastian and so I sped on alone to explore one of the most fascinating places in the world.

The paths were almost deserted, which is why I was traveling at about 15-20 km/h in places. Up to an impressive encounter that I hadn't expected at all behind a curve.

Unlike in the picture, we suddenly found ourselves face to face. As my heart sank and I slowly shifted into reverse, Mr. Bison seemed to be eyeing me closely and noting me seriously. He turned his head away and seemed to wait a moment...then went on his way. Phew... that was exciting!

I still had a pulse as I drove on, but the myriad of colorful hot springs and the rising mist of erupting geysers calmed me down in no time.

Unbelievable impressions and the day was not over yet. Named for the unusual buiskite-like deposits that once surrounded Sapphire Pool, the Biscuit Basin is traversed by an easy 1km lollipop loop trail that passes many hydrothermal features such as Sapphire Pool, Avoca Spring and Jewel Geyser. The atmosphere was magical

and more magical the darker it got.

We illegally did not spend the night at a park campsite, but parked near the Midway Geyser Basin after dark, which we visited in the morning. We crossed the wooden bridge that spans the Firehole River; this flows peacefully along the road and lies below the active zone. Hot, steaming water constantly flows into the river from the hot pools located higher up. It's a great spectacle in itself, but the minerals released by the hot springs also leave behind a beautiful array of colors as they make their way into the river.

And this spectacle was just the beginning... more indescribable impressions followed.

But the highlight of the Middle Basin is undoubtedly the Grand Prismatic Spring. At 112 meters wide, it is incredibly large and known around the world for its rainbow colors.

Its colors can best be seen from a higher location, but unfortunately the way to the vantage point was not accessible with a wheelchair. Nevertheless, there was still a lot to see, e.g. the Lower Geyser Basin.

Not wanting to expose Lennox to the fumes of the Hot Springs, we also stopped at picnic spots like this one where he could run and sniff.

By the time we got to Gibbon Falls the blue sky had gone and the rain had started.

A few miles to the north is the generally less active Gibbon Geyser Basin with several scattered clusters of thermal features, the most popular of which are Artists Paint Pots, a group of over 50 springs, geysers, vents and most notably mud pots. These feature various shades of blue, gray and brown and have a range of different textures.

The rapid change in the weather left its mark and after a few unintentional showers from above I felt a little chilly. It's a good thing that the Norris Geyser Basin was on the program afterwards. It is Yellowstone's hottest, oldest and most dynamic thermal area. The highest temperature ever recorded in a geothermal area in Yellowstone was measured in a scientific borehole at Norris: 459°F (237°C) just 1,087 feet (326 meters) below the surface! There are very few thermal features below boiling point (199 °F at this elevation) in Norris.

Also absolutely impressive was the area around the Roaring Mountains, which were named after the numerous fumaroles on the west slope of the summit, which in the early 20th century were loud enough to be heard several kilometers away.

Afterwards we paid a visit to the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Despite everything we had seen up until then, it just didn't get boring. Nature seemed to come up with something new around every corner. Mammoth Hot Springs is a large travertine (limestone) formation formed over thousands of years. More than two tons of hot water flow out of Mammoth Springs every day. As the water cools, calcium carbonate is deposited, which over time forms the characteristic pools and platforms. Traces of iron oxide undergo the same phenomenon, which explains the reddish tinge of some terraces.