Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yellowstone Travertine

One of my favorite things about Yellowstone Park was the section in the north of the park, near Mammoth Hot Springs where these wonderful stair-steppy travertines formed. Kind of like the stalagmites in caves, but on the outside of things. The water and the minerals just kind of trickle out and down. I loved that no human controls the making of these; nature just does what she wants, where she wants.

I was often struck by the forethought of President Teddy Roosevelt and grateful for his actions in making this our first National Park. I was also grateful for all of the men and women who worked in the past to save it--like when the Army National Guard lived on the park to protect the herd animals from poaching, or the work of naturalists and ecologists to bring back the gray wolves, or the heroic efforts of all of those involved in fighting the big fires twenty years ago. You can help but feel small when surrounded by all of that wonderful wildness. I mean feel small in a good way.

Let's just say that if Nature is your religion, there's not many better places to worship than Yellowstone Park.



Jim Macdonald said...

Hey Dianne,

I love Mammoth also.

Unfortunately, you've got it wrong about Teddy Roosevelt, who was a teenager when Yellowstone became a national park in 1872, when Grant was president. The real story is far less sexy - the Northern Pacific Railroad wanted an area to bring tourists to diversify the use of the railroad they were building across land that did not yet belong to them (hence a lot of the Indian wars of the 1870s). So, Yellowstone wasn't good for the usual kinds of extractive industries - it was good for sightseeing, so Congress set it aside.

Anyhow, I am always puzzled by the Teddy Roosevelt story of founding Yellowstone because I don't know where the story came from, but it's so common. I cover Yellowstone blogs and news as a daily hobby; this is the second blog I've come across today and one of dozens in the past couple years that have expressed this belief.

But, so far, I still don't know the source.

One smaller point - was the regular army proper - the cavalry in fact, that lived in Yellowstone for 30 years protecting it.

Take care, and I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments about Yellowstone and worship.

jill said...

Beautiful photo! If all goes as planned we're going to take a trip to Yellowstone next year.

I left you something on my blog :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Diane,

I haven't looked at any blogs lately, but it has been good to see what you guys did after the reunion. Your trip looks like it was really fun.

I also love Yellowstone. As a small tidbit, one of the first "dates" that Andy and I had was when we stayed up ALL night long to prepare a VERY long report on the Yellowstone fires of 1989 and the let-it-burn policy. Jean was not too excited to have Andy come home at 5am, but...oh well!

Also, Andy and I have a really good friend that tracked the wolves in Yellowstone and followed a wolf pack for several months to a year in order to document their activities. We thought that it would be a fun job for a single guy to do!