In 1872, Yellowstone National Park became the first ever park of its kind. It was dedicated to the American people, to be preserved for the enjoyment of generations to come. At the time, though, since there had never been a national park anywhere before, the government and those put in charge of the park didn’t know what to do with it. There had not even been any funds allocated to preserving the area. Poaching was common in the area. At the time the Wyoming territory was in a very remote area of the country, so the public the park was created for had a difficult time getting there.
Before long, though, there were railroads and roads into the park. Though visitors on horseback were the first to explore the park, automobiles began arriving by 1915.
When we traveled to Yellowstone in 1969, it was already the most visited national park, but the American population was a lot less then too. There were no hoards of people, just the same hoards of bears that still hang out along side of the roads, blocking traffic and looking for handouts.
Old Faithful was very popular and easily accessible. A crowd would gather when it was predicted to be due to erupt. The other geysers were just as fascinating, even when they weren’t erupting. Just the thought that at any moment they could spew hundreds of gallons of water high into the air was enough for me. Morning Glory Pool was gorgeous, so hard to believe that hot water bubbling out of the ground could attract such amazingly colored algae and other organisms, microscopic life forms that thrive in the hot water. At various other pools the blues and greens and pinks seemed to glow under the boiling water.
Some of the other geysers and pools were a short hike away from the parking lot. So, at one such place, Mom wanted to stay in the truck while Dad took me, Pat and the cameras to check out hot ponds and steaming pools.
We took our share of pictures and home movies, Pat and me scampering in front of the camera for Dad. But we didn’t get to view any other geysers discharging. When we got back to where the camper was parked along the far edge of the lot, Mom was all excited. She pointed to a small lake not far away.
“A moose came right out of the woods and went through the water. He was just a couple hundred feet away. And you guys had all the cameras.”
And since we had the cameras, there was no way to prove it. As I said, the crowds were small, so there were no witnesses to back up Mom’s story. We believed her, but continued to give her a hard time, mostly because we were jealous that all we had seen was hot water.