Monday, August 10, 2015

Yellowstone, the First National Park, Still Our National Treasure

One of the highlights of my two-week campout was spending time trekking in Yellowstone. Yellowstone was the first national park in history, set aside for public use. All other parks in the world to that point had been owned by royalty or the government, and restricted to use by the aristocracy. A national park for the people was a new idea, pushed into law by Theodor Roosevelt.

The story told is that the teenaged Teddy Roosevelt jumped on a train headed west because he wanted to shoot a buffalo. It was his idea of a rite of passage. When he got to the end of the line, he disembarked the train and killed his buffalo. But he was so enthralled by the Yellowstone landscape, he made it his mission to preserve for all time, which he eventually did.

I must say I prefer the more spectacular views that Yosemite provides, but there is much to admire in Yellowstone—beautiful forests, lush meadows, impressive geysers and springs, and a plethora of wild animals. Of course, being there in the summer, there was also a plethora of people, most of whom where driving from one geyser to another, fighting over parking spaces, pushing their baby strollers, and marveling at the scenery.

I usually hate crowds, but the throngs didn’t bother me. I like the fact that people are enjoying this national treasure. There were tourists of all ages and all nationalities. I do believe that the Chinese tourist outnumbered everyone else put together, which was fine by me. Let everyone enjoy the grandeur.

Spending time in Yellowstone is like meditating in a Zen retreat. I dip down into a relaxed, natural state, and stay in the moment, forgetting the rest of the world. It’s effortless. For me, the place has a spiritual pull.

I’ll include a few pictures, including Old Faithful. 

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