T017 Yellowstone National Park

by

Dear Danielle and Heather,

We are Gramps and Grammy’s shadows writing now. You won’t see us for awhile because after leaving Theodore Roosevelt National Park we went for a loooong ride so they sat on us. We drove for miles and miles south through North Dakota and South Dakota then west to Wyoming. Gramps couldn’t even fool Grammy into thinking it was only two hours.

It is interesting to know that Theodore Roosevelt N.P. was named in honor of the 17th President of the United States. He got this honor because he started the National Park system that saved lots of beautiful scenery for everyone to enjoy. As a matter of fact, the Devils Tower was the first National Monument he set aside and Yellowstone where we are heading after Devils Tower was the first National Park. You’ll learn about all this stuff as you get older.

Finally, we got to Devil’s Tower National Monument. It seems like you enjoy climbing walls. Lots of people climb the tower each year. That would be a challenge, huh? It takes five or six hours to get to the top, but then it is real fast coming down. We took a very nice walk all around it with a National Park Ranger who explained all about climbers, the history of the place, and how it was formed. It was a volcano that never blew up and the land just eroded away from around it over the centuries.

The other thing we enjoyed was the prairie dog town next to the campground. We had 1 ½” of rain one night and wondered if their holes got flooded. They were out the next day digging the holes out again. Its fun listening to them chatter as they stand on their own mounds.

We drove over the Beartooth Highway on our way to Yellowstone National Park. It looks a bit like a maze going up doesn’t it? The road climbs 3,000’ so there are a lot of switchbacks to get to the top. It was very exciting and very, very beautiful. We found a campground up on the top. We took a hike over a bunch of streams and into the woods and found this awesome waterfall.

The first thing we saw when we got to Yellowstone was this big ol’ Elk buck resting in the campground. A couple days later there were these two Elk moms and their fawns.

Yellowstone is known for its really wild scenery—hot springs, geysers, fumaroles—all the result of volcanoes 630,000 years ago. That is a really, really, REALLY long time ago. Here’s a picture of us shadows enjoying the amazing colors at the Mammoth Hot Springs. Finally you can get to meet us. (It took ‘em long enough to take our pictures don’t you think?) They are such pretty colors because of microorganisms called bacteria. They are thermophiles that means they love super hot water. You know how we feel hot when it gets to be 90 degrees in the summer. These guys love 170 degree water.

These microorganisms are so tiny you can’t see them unless there are a bazillion, gazillion together. Maybe sometime when you visit Uncle Steve and Aunt Linda, you can ask Uncle Steve to look in his microscope to get an idea what hard to see things looks like.

Here is a fumarole, the smoke is actually steam and a whole lot of hot air coming from deep underground where it’s very hot. And here is a geyser. Old Faithful is very famous. Grammy is watching it shoot hot water, steam and air high in the air. You can see we shadows are really seeing some special things.

Some times your dad gets stuck in traffic jams when he’s going to or from work. Out here in Yellowstone there’s different problem-bison jams. Here’s what it looks like when the bison decide to cross the road.

The last fun thing we saw before leaving Yellowstone was this elk walking by a fumarole. Maybe we’ll let Gramps and Grammy’s feet continue the story next time.

Love, G & G. Shadows

Last GG Letter, Next GG Letter

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