Yellowstone and I took a day or two to warm up to each other.

Coming from wide-open, deserted space for days, the tourist-crowded landscape of the country’s first national park felt a bit claustrophobic – and I was there off-season.  

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Sunrise behind Old Faithful

I managed to find some quiet snatches, however, between the monstrous, exhaust-belching bodies of tour buses and the scramble of selfie sticks.

Early morning and early evening are the prime hours in any park – and the quietest. If you want a national park to yourself, stay up late enough to shoot the stars and then wake before the sun.

My first night in the park, I woke up right next to Old Faithful and watched the sun rise through the pungent smoke of the geysers, which mostly finished the warming-up process that had started the evening before when I’d first wandered through the geyser basin and its bubbling, colorful pools and sputtering mud.

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Yellowstone Traffic Jam

Bison roam the park, of course, causing frequent traffic jams, but since I’d grown accustomed to waking up at my private camping spots in the middle of national forests with a couple buffalo, elk, or coyote wandering through during breakfast and no people, selfie-sticks, or belching buses around, the crowded park felt a bit like a zoo.

The National Parks continually amaze me with the vastness and incredibly huge range of diversity in this country, and even though I have wandered through a lot of them during the past couple of months, no two have seemed even remotely alike and each one has its own particular language, colors, and flair.

I never saw the treasure hunter again and haven’t heard anything about Forest Fenn’s hidden chest being discovered so apparently he was unsuccessful.
…which means, if you are interested in becoming a treasure hunter and visiting the Rockies, the treasure chest could still be out there somewhere 😉

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Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon

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Upper Falls in Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon

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A frosty morning’s sun rises behind Old Faithful

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Winter comes harsh and fast in Yellowstone. Two days after snapping this cold, forlorn-looking photo, the pass through the park was closed because of a blizzard.

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Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park

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A beautiful spot for breakfast and coyote-watching after a chilly night boondocking next to Old Faithful

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Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs range from beautiful, majestic, and tranquil to… unique

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Crystal clear turquoise pools steam and bubble in Yellowstone’s geyser basin

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The early morning sun begins to burn off the fog in Yellowstone…

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Never step off the walkways in Yellowstone’s geyser basins! The earth is often just a thin crust and falling into a boiling pool of water is not a good way to end a vacation 😉

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