After seeing Grand Teton National Park, we drove to Gardiner, Montana, our base for touring YellowStone National Park. The park sign is located in Gardiner, the north entrance to the park.
Yellowstone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO website,
The vast natural forest of Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 9,000 km2 ; 96% of the park lies in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone contains half of all the world’s known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. It also has the world’s largest concentration of geysers (more than 300 geyers, or two thirds of all those on the planet). Established in 1872, Yellowstone is equally known for its wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and wapitis.
Happily, we spent our time in Yellowstone looking at wildlife and geothermal features.
On the drive to Gardiner, we stopped at Old Faithful geyser. It erupts periodically, so we parked and walked to the visitor center to see when the next eruption is expected. The sign at the entrance said that the next eruption is predicted for 12:48, plus or minus 10 minutes. It was nearly 1:00, and we didn’t see throngs of people streaming out, so we hurried through the visitor center to an open area with a large crowd standing around.
We found a spot under a tree, waited a few minutes, and Old Faithful erupted!
As we left, the prediction for the next eruption was updated to nearly two hours later.
Yellowstone sits on a hotspot, a volcanic region where the underground rock is much hotter than elsewhere. Hawaii and Iceland sit on smaller hotspots. The hot rock heats underground water, causing the hot water and steam to periodically erupt as a geyser.
In later posts we’ll write about Yellowstone geothermal features, wildlife, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Our rented apartment in Gardiner worked well. We cooked, watched the World Cup, and checked email. We walked through town in the evenings and watched the Yellowstone River, right behind our apartment. Here’s the river from our back balcony. From the buildings on the opposite bank, you can see that the river bank is quite high.