To tell you the truth, I had no idea about any hooplah besides that Yellowstone was "awesome." Not a super descriptive word (yet one that I use often...vocab check!). I mentioned in the post on Mt. Rainier that most parks have a few distinguishing characteristics, so here are Yellowstone's:
So this hydrothermal business...we're talking about geysers (which are a result of boiling water underground) and then a TON of sulfuric colorful, boiling pots of water in the ground. Everywhere. It is SO WEIRD.
The color depends on what kind of bacteria is growing on it, and there are muddy ones too. See:
This one was my favorite, Mammoth Springs.
It's like an infinity pool hot tub that cascades down...awesome.
Don't be fooled. That's boiling water.
One big pool.
Mudpot spewing out boiling water
I think the #1 word we used there was "crazy" - again, not too descriptive, but very accurate as it stands. The fact that there is an intense amount of boiling water erupting from the ground in the middle of Wyoming is...crazy. But nobody else seemed all that weirded out except us.
Okay, so onto the wildlife. If you're looking for an American safari, this is it.
Bison charging down the road
Trumpeter swan feasting in the rapids
Intimate encounter with an elk
Okay dragonflies are everywhere, but how awesome is it that the point-and-shoot took this?
It's worth noting that the Grand Tetons NP, which is connected to the south side of Yellowstone, also sports a ton of wildlife. That's where we saw a moose and an otter, together, bam.
And finally, the fly fishing. There are so many fly-fishing-only rivers in the park, and they are magnificent. It's so peaceful, and the fish jump left and right! (Not that we caught any of course.)
Look carefully - that white blob is a hungry trout!
B getting in there
As a sidenote, we finally took advantage of a park ranger talk (we'd seen them in every park but never been able to time it right). As nerdy as it sounds, these things are great! They have a powerpoint presentation and a campfire outside under the stars and talk about things like wolves and fires. Slightly embarrassing, but hey, who doesn't need a little extra knowledge about how Lodgepole Pine trees contribute to forest fires?