Yellowstone is big, very big.
In my five days here so far, I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that as a visitor, you’d really want a good seven days or so to do this park justice.
Some national parks you can catch the highlights in a day. Badlands was one, and even Zion you could if you got there early enough. Yellowstone is not one of those.
I don’t know acreage-wise how it ranks in size, but there are multiple hubs, or “villages” (usually at crossroads), and every single one I’ve been to so far has been worth a visit with it’s own educational focus, not to mention food and shopping options.
Between these hubs you can find scenic pullouts, picnic areas, one-way nature roads, hiking trails, and boardwalks, many of which aren’t even marked on the free park map you get at the entrance.
The mountains are worth seeing.
The rivers are worth seeing.
The waterfalls are worth seeing.
The canyons are worth seeing.
The pine forests and meadows are worth seeing.
The wildlife is worth seeing.
And of course, the hydrothermal features are worth seeing.
There is just so much to see, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve taken to marking off on my map the places I’ve visited so I can keep track, and labeling my pictures so I remember where I took them.
I can see why this was America’s first national park. When surrounded by scenery like this, just sitting quietly and observing is a very moving experience. In fact, that’s what I did after I finished my first day of work yesterday.
May is called a shoulder month here. Winter activities are long since over, but highs in the 40’s and 50’s are still holding the summer visitors off. I had this pullout all to myself, and got a private showing when one of the steaming vents near the creek turned out to be a geyser!
And I’m only scratching the surface. How wonderful it is that I’m going to have four and a half months here to delve deeper into the mysteries of Yellowstone.
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On that note, I’d like to thank every single one of you who reads IO. For those who’ve been following me for a while, you may remember than back in the summer of 2013 I interviewed and was accepted for a position at Yellowstone. But I took a job at Badlands National Park instead because it paid the most, and at near minimum wage with no other income to depend on, money was a huge concern.
This year I’ve been able to accept a position at Yellowstone even though the money isn’t as good as other opportunities because of your support. Even those of you who aren’t interested in my e-guide and don’t shop on Amazon help just by reading and commenting which makes IO more likely to show up on search engine results, and by telling your friends and online communities about this blog.
I get a lot of comments and e-mails from readers who thank me for writing IO and doing everything I do here. But the truth is, these photos and this summer wouldn’t have been possible without you. Thank you.