"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, September 14, 2009

Near Perfection

The Lower Falls

I can still hear the Lower Falls from the village area even though the water level of the Yellowstone River has fallen dramatically. The Falls used to sound like a 747 with the high water, now they sound more like a distant Cessna. Boulders and stumps are protruding above the water where earlier in the year I didn't even know they had existed. Alum, Trout, and Elk Antler Creeks in Hayden Valley are mostly mud now.

There is another storm coming this evening. I have been watching the lightning to the west. Last nights storm brought snow to Dunraven Pass, but not enough to stick around. It was rather warm today (70's in the sun) with more rain forecast for tomorrow. If this year is like the previous years there should be snow here by the time the store closes. A couple years ago the last person to leave here (around Oct. 20) was snowbound here for 3 days before he eventually followed a snowplow out of the Park. Some of the people here with RVs are concerned about getting out of here if a snowstorm hits. With the road closure between Norris and Madison it is a long way around to get out of the Park.

With the death last night of one of the Dorm Bison's something amazing happened. The other 2 showed up together at the dorm this afternoon. In the past they were all seen separately, they never approached the dorm together. It was very odd that it happened today but I was glad to see them, it made me feel better. However, one of them was blocking my path to the door and I had to lean up against a fence and wait for him to move along (after he finished rubbing his neck on one of the metal boxes out front and then scratch his head on a tree). I eventually had to use a path to the side of the dorm and use the side entrance.

One of the things that a person can really appreciate about nights in Yellowstone is the lack of light pollution. For those who love to look at the stars it is a perfect place to come. I sometimes sit outside on clear nights and look at the stars and planets and look for satellites and shooting stars. The night skies are spectacular and I encourage everyone to take a moment and look up at night when visiting. I even bought myself a Planisphere so I can track the night sky (they are for sale in the Park at the Yellowstone Association Stores).

The sounds of waterfalls, howling wolves, yipping coyotes, bugling elk, the sights of the night sky........Yellowstone is darn near perfect.