In Search of Beauty and Knowledge
June 29, 2015
First we have our mandatory bear avoidance lesson. This all seems very complicated and who would take time to read it while being attacked by a bear.
My method is much more effective: When a beat attacks, poop yourself and leave him with a bad taste in his mouth. They will eventually learn.
I learned what a caldera is today. Caldera=Cauldron in Spanish. Yellowstone has this giant caldera that sits in the middle of it. Every 640,000 years it explodes and covers much of the US with ash. In the last explosion, animals in Nebraska were covered with ten feet of ash. It has not exploded in roughly 645,000 years making it overdue. So take heart you global warming worriers. When this happens, you will either be part of the ash or part of the starving masses as the planet cools dramatically. Best not to worry at all as there is little that you can do about global warming or global cooling.
When it explodes it moves west making what is known as the Snake River Plain in Idaho. This plain is ideal for growing French fries which will certainly kill you long before climate change has any impact on your life. See! Knowledge is power.
Yellowstone Park is a giant park and making it seem even bigger is that it is surrounded by national forests. Add it all together and it encompasses an area of 20 million acres. It is where one comes to get treated for NDD. (Nature Deficit Disorder) There are roughly 3.5 million people that come to Yellowstone each year for the cure.
Yellowstone is unique in that it has all of the animals in it that it had in it when the white devil arrived. The wolves were eradicated at one point but they have been reintroduced. The peregrine falcon was nearly wiped out by DDT but it has made a come back.
There is a herd of prong horn sheep and they can run 50 plus miles per hour. No one knows why since no predator is any where near that fast. Also, big horn sheep live on the cliffs and with their concave hooves they just run out to where no other animal can go.
The bison were reduced to 25 but then some genetically pure ones were reintroduced and they are thriving. Bison have a habit of crossing with cows and they pick up bad habits and diseases in doing so. The ones in the park have Bangs (brucellosis) and when they migrate out of the park they infect the cattle they come in contact with, which is where it originated. Payback is a bitch. They are 50,000 strong now and 45,000 are raised as domestic animals.
There are a lot of elk in the park. A lot! All of those arches I saw in Jackson Hole are made up of antlers that the elk have shed. Antlers get shed. Horns stay in place. The reason there are so many there, is that Jackson Hole, when developed, blocked a major migration path of the elk. Now they sell old antlers and use the money to feed the elk that are stopped from getting to their migration grounds because of the town. This has been going on for a lot of years.
Elk have two ivory teeth, like an elephant, although not so big. At one point they were killed just to get these two teeth so that members of Elk clubs could use them as watch fobs.
The arch I showed you yesterday is known as the Roosevelt Arch and was dedicated as the entrance to Yellowstone in 1903 by Teddy Roosevelt. The road construction in town is all on federal land and is to reorient the traffic through the Roosevelt Arch.
When they built the buildings in Gardiner they built them on the edge of the national park. Right on the edge. When you are in the building you are out of the park and when you are on the street you are in the park. That is why the main street has only one side to it and looks so funny. There are no buildings on the other side because that is park land.
Cars are in the park. Buildings out of the park.
So after gathering all of that knowledge we went off to Mammoth Village to see the terraces They are located on a hill of travertine rock on the north end of the park. Hot water bubbles out of the ground from springs. The water cools and deposits calcium carbonate. The carbonate cools and forms a ring around the spring and the hot spring water eventually spills out. What you get is what you see in the next few pictures.
What looks like snow is Calcium Carbonate
There is hot water cascading over this, but it is so clear you can’t see it.
The darker spots are cooler than the white spots.
The colored stuff is algae
It just makes a good picture.
Today I saw 6 big horn sheep, a really big horned owl, and a bunch of elk. After a dinner at the Lighthouse restaurant we were given time off for good behavior and I went to bed.