America the Beautiful Tour and Blog
Yellowstone National Park
The second leg of Armed Forces Reunions, Inc.’s America the Beautiful tour put Ted and Molly Dey atop the massive, dormant volcano that is Yellowstone National Park. Founded in 1872, the 3,500-square-mile expanse is the oldest National Park in the United States and most probably the world. The caldera accounts for Old Faithful and its plethora of geysers and hot springs, the most anywhere on earth. The beautiful landscape is also home to extraordinary natural wonders, a labyrinth of craggy canyons, rushing rivers and countless species of animals.
Located mostly in Wyoming, but also in Montana and Idaho, the destination has more than 4 million visitors a year, second only to Yosemite National Park. Despite and because of COVID 19, people are flocking outdoors and the park has seen solid visitation through the pandemic, but is mindful of the threat.
Geology and biology combine in Yellowstone to create some of the most surreal and otherworldly landscapes imaginable. Descendants of the first life forms on earth live in the extremely hot habitat of Yellowstone’s volcanic environment, creating visual wonders such as the Grand Prismatic Spring. Thermophiles, heat-loving microorganisms, create these vividly colored communities.
“Yellowstone is packed with people and we know first-hand why,” said Molly Dey, President of Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. “It is beyond words, like going back through millennia, almost to another planet in places. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and its stunning colors make it the most beautiful site I’ve ever seen – truly amazing the earth can make something so incredible. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is simply stunning with its vertical cliff faces, river deep beneath, and the raging waterfalls. There are geysers and vent fields as far as you can see, spewing puffs of steam across the golden plain.”
Yellowstone is so astounding that when explorers first reported it, newspapers purportedly refused to publish the accounts because they didn’t believe them. The park’s establishment began the U.S. government’s designation of a nationwide network of public refuges for citizens to enjoy the country’s natural beauty. As American novelist Wallace Stegner wrote: “National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”
Molly says Old Faithful is particularly reflective of the American spirit: “Like the faithfulness and dependability of our men and women in uniform and today’s first responders, Old Faithful is a perpetual beacon that keeps on keeping on.” Just like our military, you can count on Old Faithful to stand the tests of time.
Bison and elk wander freely, oblivious to the never-ending string of cars and RVs. Big bison proclaim themselves kings of their domain, purposefully stopping in the road to halt traffic for as long as they deem, relishing in the worshipful attention of the clicking throngs of humanity. Ted says “Along the Yellowstone River we crossed a Grizzly Bear proudly lording over his fresh kill of a splendidly racked elk. A visitor filmed the kill earlier that day, and posted the video to YouTube.” Click the following to see it.
The next stop on the Dey’s America the Beautiful tour is Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, where the tallest mountain peak approaches 14,000 feet: So stay tuned!