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And the Earth Opened Up in Yellowstone National Park – Travel Destinations in the USA for Retired Life

This blog post is 25th in the “Travel Destinations in the USA for retired life – This destination starts with the letter Y – only one more! Yellowstone National Park is an iconic destination that people of any age want to see. If you haven’t seen it yet, then retired life is the perfect time to see it.

If there is one place that takes you back thousands of years, where you can imagine what it may have looked like when life was beginning, it is Yellowstone National Park.

The valley carrying the yellowstone river
Travel Destinations in the USA for seniors
Yellowstone National Park
The canyon colors are created by the minerals that flow out of the Earth for thousands of years that change the composition of the exposed rocks. Hot Springs show themselves from the steam puffs they release all along the canyon walls.

The Earth Ripped Open:

Yellowstone National Park feels like the Earth has been ripped open and laid bare for your eyes to see a small portion of what is going on inside.

Yellowstone river
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Yellowstone river thunders down a cliff more than 300 ft and roars through the valley.
the yellowstone river carves through the valley.
Travel Destinations in the USA for seniors
The steam cues us in on hot springs that come out of the Earth even near the river and canyon sides. You do understand where the Yellowstone name comes from!

Heat-loving Thermophiles:

There are hot springs pouring out from deep crevices, ponds of hot water and mud – and microorganisms live in these harsh conditions. The best part is that they are so delicate living in the heat that we could harm them by touching or walking over them! So be warned and do not trespass on any of the out-of-bounds areas.

The color of the water and the cliffs and valleys are from the chemical reactions and blooming of the microorganisms that live in the harsh conditions here. Indeed, many mountainsides and valleys look like they have been painted by a mighty artist (which they have!) This is the secret of the colorful surroundings!

Living color hot spring in Yellowstone
Travel Destinations in the USA for seniors
The Living Color hot spring spouting thermal water. The thousands of heat-loving thermophiles, which are unique living organisms, thrive in these harsh conditions and give it its colors.
Mud volcano in Yelloewstone
Travel Destinations in the USA for seniors
Mud Volcano spewing mud! The air smells really funny because its actually Sulfur (Hydrogen Sulphide – rotten eggs!)

Where the Buffalo Roam:

You can see buffalo roaming around seemingly peacefully. But the signboards warn people not to approach them as, like any wild animal, they can be unpredictable. Remember that hardly 10% of the millions of Buffalo that roamed over the plains and valleys of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah in the 1800s exist today. Imagine a day when the buffalo covered the ground and trees densely crowded together!

Not to forget the bears in Yellowstone! We did see a family, a mother with two cubs at a distance. Trekkers you may come across them too! The rangers don’t allow them to get too close to human settlements and take them back far into the Park.

Palette Spring in Yellowstone
Travel destinations for seniors in the US
Palette Spring – remember the color is living!

Old Faithful:

No description of Yellowstone is complete without one of Old Faithful! The water soars into the sky at regular intervals. But sadly, the interval is increasing yearly. Whether due to earthquakes changing the path of the water or from people throwing things into the vent, it is hard to say. On a clear day when the sky is blue, it is a magnificent sight to see the contrast of the white water against the blue sky! The fountain starts with spurts of water as a warning before the “Big One” Do let us know if you were one of the lucky ones to see it!

Old Faithful as it blows steam into the cloudy sky
Top travel destinations in the USA for seniors
Old Faithful on a cloudy day!
Old Faithful on a good day
Untold secrets of yellowstone national park
Old Faithful!

Minerals in the water and microorganisms are what give this Park its beauty and color.

The Best Time to Visit:

Summer is a great time to visit, but expect crowds. We visited in May and it was a perfect time, just before the vacation started. It was cold and Old Faithful may not have been as beautiful as it would have been on a clear day, but there was no hassle. It can get cold in winter in the Park. May to October is a great time to plan a trip.

The above post is only about the author’s own experiences at Yellowstone. Please do plan travel and accommodation before going.

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