Yellowstone Part 1
The granddaddy of them all, the place that created a seismic shift in the concept of public lands, the national park that defies comparison to any other among America’s best idea, Yellowstone National Park includes bubbling mud, softly cascading creeks, wildlife and clusters of eager tourists ogling them, powerful gushes of hot water and steam forcing their way up through the earth, and contrasting flows of turquoise water tumbling into golden canyons. If every blogger, every author, every photographer, and every artist captured its magnificence in prose or paint or print or pictures, it still would be inadequate to capture the ambiance and awestruck grandness of its beauty. Nonetheless, we try.
Like a majestic island in the Wyoming wilderness, five entrances allow the teeming multitudes of gawkers to reach Yellowstone’s scenery. Open year round, the northern entrance accesses its famous stone arch proclaiming the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” and at the opposite end, seasonal tourists pass smoothly between Coulter’s Hell and the Grand Tetons, but my introduction to Yellowstone National Park, while including these routes, began after scraping the sky along the Beartooth Pass, which winds its way between Montana and Wyoming through the Custer National Forest. When aspiring to a final resting place, skip the pearly gates and ask for the Beartooth entrance to heaven.
Yellowstone Part 2
My return visit cuts through the center of the park. In from the west, out through the east, and thereby I easily boast having experienced all five viewpoints, of which others may only see one or two. The harder dilemma, however, the challenge of the prioritization of one view over another perplexes me. As vastly different as the terrain and natural features encompass the overall park, each passageway offers drastically varied experiences to me. While in Yellowstone, a single human may see a grizzly bear, may photograph a galloping buffalo, may witness the speed of a gray wolf skirting through grasses taller than the mammal itself, may hear the bugle of an elk before its presence is visible through a grove of aspens, and each creature’s presence captivates and alters the viewpoint of the visitor.
Likewise the entrances display the power of an earthquake, the grandeur of approaching craggy mountains, the tranquility of a lake leading to watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean, the statement of a visionary president, and the perilous twists and turns and gasps reaching above twelve thousand feet in the air. Pick a portal and find your favorite; choose one or two paths into and out of the natural brilliance of Yellowstone National Park. Be bold and tackle them in progression over years or over a summer. Drive away from one view and promise yourself to return to another. Above all else, get yourself to Wyoming and choose your gateway into heaven.