the grand canyon of the yellowstone

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National Park Signs -  Part I

I’ve now been to 28 US National Parks over the past 4 years. The experience has been truly amazing.

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Happy 101st birthday, National Park Service! 

For the last century, the National Park Service has protected America’s Best Idea, ensuring current and future generations can experience the country’s natural, cultural and historic treasures. Established 44 years before the National Park Service, Yellowstone was the world’s first national park and sparked a worldwide movement to protect special places.

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Lower falls of the Yellowstone River

A trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming isn’t complete without viewing the majestic Lower Falls. When visiting the park in 2012, Stuart Burnett and his wife Patti captured this shot of Lower Falls legendary rainbow thanks to detailed research and planning. Of the experience, Stuart says, “You could hear the gasp from the other viewers as the rainbow formed. It was just magnificent!! It lasted for about 10 minutes … 10 minutes that I will never forget!!” Photo courtesy of Stuart Burnett. 🌈

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Slow motion view of the lower falls of the Yellowstone

Let's get one thing straight:

Badlands National Park is not in defiance of the president, they are in support of the American People. They don’t work for him, they work for US. Climate change is a direct threat to our national resources, and the most severe threat facing our parks today. This is not a political issue, this is not Democrats vs. Republicans, this is data-backed endangerment of our open spaces and federal lands. If a building is deemed structurally unsound, you fix it, you don’t claim that scientists are lying to you about serious fatigue in the load-bearing members, or else it comes crashing down around you. Climate change is no different, nobody has ever tried to claim that forest fires are a myth invented by the Chinese.

How Do Ya Like Them Apples?

Sure, Derek heard the familiar sounds of Stiles’ Jeep pull up outside his building and the steady, but slightly-too-fast beating of Stiles’ heart getting louder and louder the closer the elevator got to arriving at his floor, so it wasn’t really a surprise when Stiles came bursting into his apartment moments later. But what was a surprise, was the words that came spilling out of Stiles’ mouth as soon as he entered and laid eyes on Derek, where he was perched at his kitchen counter with a book in front of him.

“I got in! I got into NYU, Derek!” Stiles exclaimed excitedly, and then, with a look of determination set into his features, he added “and you’re coming with me!”

Derek’s whole body kind of… spasmed a little. The book he had open on the counter top fell shut when his fingers involuntarily twitched out of the way. He recovered fairly quickly, but not fast enough that Stiles didn’t notice.

“It wasn’t a question dude,” Stiles continued as though Derek had protested. “I know you only had 2 years to go when you followed Laura back here and I know they kept a spot open for you for next year. And you’re going to go back and finish your degree and you can show me around campus and we can get an apartment together and it’ll be awesome.”

Stiles grinned at him, tried to look eager but relaxed about what he was saying, but Derek could practically see the anxiety buzzing through him and sense his trepidation. Derek meant to say a firm ‘no’, if for no other reason than because Stiles was telling him what to do and Derek resented that, but instead what came out was “How do you know I was at NYU?”

Stiles gave him an unimpressed look. “I’m more than a little offended that you don’t instantly recognize my superior detective skills at this point.”

“I didn’t ask them to hold my place. I can’t just go back to classes like I never left, Stiles,” Derek continued quickly.

“Yes you did. Well, as far as they’re concerned you did. You formally requested an extended leave of absence months ago and they accepted your request to resume classes with the new admissions next year,” Stiles’ face was twisted in smug satisfaction, even with the undercurrent of anxiety still running through him, as though he simply couldn’t help himself.

Derek sighed because he’d done no such thing.

“I don’t even know why I’m surprised,” he murmured.

“Me either. You should know me well enough by now, dude. I made sure you were re-enrolled as soon as I sent my application in. Also, your signature wasn’t even a slight challenge, dude. After forging Dad’s monstrosity of an autograph on all my detention slips and grade reports through the years, yours was a piece of cake. You should probably work on that.”

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Stunningly Scenic!!.... Yellowstone Nat'l Park Pt.1

Yellowstone represents more about US than Niagara Falls or the Statue of Liberty!! This park is pure magic! Dazzling pools of rainbow colors, steam sprouting from the ground, geysers and waterfalls, generous wildlife, and so much more. Yellowstone is the first park I visited in the States and it still remains the best, I have witnessed so far, by a country mile!
We started our journey from Salt Lake City….the gateway to so much natural beauty in and around the state of Utah. Salt Lake City is the hub of all natural activities in the United States – from the Mighty 5 National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef) that cover much of Utah to the breathtaking drive from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone or from Salt Lake City to Grand Canyon, the place is a perfect escapade from the humdrum of daily life.

Fellow Characters:
I was joined by my close confidante, Ritesh Parikh, and by my professor Dr. Partha Bhattacharya from India; ’ Look Ayan! I am an avid trekker to the extent that I even took my wife to the Mawali Pass trek in the Garhwal Himalayan steps during our honeymoon’,. ‘So?’, I asked back. He kept quiet and smiled. His reticence suggested that the trip better be worth remembering and should come close to the Himalayan extravaganza in terms of natural wowness (He was already bored of the humid weather and undulating plains of Michigan) . Parikh on the other hand, was more of a logistics manager. He has already garnered followers with his immense deal-securing skills. Before our trip, he made sure that the hotel, car and other associated things guarantee the best value in their price and that we are not overpaying for them. So there they were in a trip together; 2 people with extremely contrasting traits – one who always talked and joked, the other seldom uttered a word; one who liked to complete a hike as quickly as possible with the impending lunch/dinner motivating him, the other took his own sweet time as he never missed a photographic opportunity. The 'clash of titans’ happened at the end of day one, when there was a fleet of bison behind our car, grazing on the savannas in the Yellowstone Valley. We all were starving and the sight of bison tempted Parikh’s parched taste-buds more into having a sumptuous burger for dinner. Much to his ire, Parthada stepped out of the car to take some close snaps. Devastated Parikh restored to banging his head against the dashboard of our car – a sequence that was hilarious and summed up the antithesis of my fellow travelers. I have undertaken multiple trips with them later, but never together!

Day 1:

Itinerary: Madison Junction - Geysers - Old Faithful - Yellowstone Lake


We drove from Salt Lake city and stayed at a hotel outside the park entrance at West Yellowstone. The next morning we woke up and headed towards Yellowstone Lake. The section from Madison Jn. to Yellowstone Lake contains the heart of Yellowstone’s action. Shortly after turning south at Madison Junction, we turned west onto the one-way road descending to the Firehole River. Numerous springs and geysers line the river and you might see them erupt as you drive along.There are lots of fascinating geothermal features along this road and I will resort to pictures as my words will fail to describe the majestic setting that felt so surreal. The stops and small hikes we did were at: Fire Hole Falls, Fountain Flat Drive, Lower Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pot, Great Fountain Geyser, Goose Lake, Fairy Falls, Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, Sapphire Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin.

Lower Geyser Basin – Fountain Paint Pot

Parikh and I in front of Midway geyser Basin

Black Sand Basin

Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the highlights in Yellowstone National Park!! We hiked up Fairy Falls trail to picture Point to get the best view of the spring

Finally, we arrived at the Upper Geyser Basin, and the star of Yellowstone, Old Faithful. Not the largest or most impressive geyser in the park, but consistency makes it a crowd favorite. Roughly every 90 minutes, the geyser sends a plume of steam and water 120-150 feet in the air.

Old Faithful


We continued south until we reached the Yellowstone Lake. The turquoise blue lake is huge and offers spectacular views from every angle. You can see steam coming out from shoreline volcanic activities in one place and distant snow capped mountains in another. A worthy end to a day that has been exhilaratingly beautiful and we kept keep telling ourselves that we are NOT watching TV. We stayed overnight at a hotel near the south entrance of the park.

Yellowstone Lake with Mt. Washburn in the background

West Thumb Basin near Yellowstone Lake