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[Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, March 4, 2011]
This was the day I decided to visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
The Grand Canyon in winter is not for everyone: It is remote, lonely, and very cold.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is not, of course, THE Grand Canyon. THAT canyon is in Arizona, and the Colorado River runs through it.
There are only seven on board the snow coach, including the driver, as we enter the Park and plunge into the wilderness. It is a â€œChristmas-cardâ€ kind of day. The scenery is spectacular!
We drive north and follow the Gibbon River for 15 miles (upper left). We turn east for 12 miles, climbing 3,000 feet in altitude (to more than 8,000 feet).
We stop at the Canyon Visitor Center, which reminds me of Dr. Zhivagoâ€™s ice palace (lower right). The Center is lightly staffed, and food and facilities are available there.
We drive to several sites overlooking the Yellowstone River and the canyon it has carved. The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, which drops more than 300 feet, is almost frozen solid (upper right).
We turn away from the Lower Falls and face north for a look at the Grand Canyon. It is a thousand feet deep in places. And, it is breathtaking (lower left).
The Yellowstone River is the longest â€œfree flowingâ€ river in North America. It flows north out of Lake Yellowstone and begins an uninterrupted journey of 675 miles, where it joins the Missouri River. William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) explored the Yellowstone as the Corps of Discovery began the long journey home.
On our way back, we stop at the Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest â€œspotâ€ in the Park (lower right). It is a boiling cauldron. It is so hot, in fact, that the trails are often closed in the summertime.
Contrary to popular belief, Yellowstone National Park is not the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is smaller. It is the size of Rhode Island and Delaware.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Also by Richard Knight
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