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Yellowstone in pictures: 2011
Yellowstone is a wild place of fire and ice. The first son of the United States national parks system, and the first national park in the entire world, is a rich ecosystem of wild creatures and geothermal wonders. With snow capped peaks and alien-looking hot springs, Yellowstone's diversity prompts millions to visit the high altitude Serengeti yearly.
While Old Faithful performs on schedule every hour or so, much of the park changes year over year. Hotbeds of geothermal activity spread and recede. The animals behave unpredictably, taking cues from weather, water level, and crowds. In one year a visitor may see only a handful of bison, but the next year, thousands may come into view at the same location on the same day. And the holy grail of Yellowstone, a bear sighting, is likely in some years and near impossible in others. (Check out these tips to safely exist among bears in the wild) This dynamism provides a unique experience even for repeat visitors.
From stopping at Bison traffic jams to kneeling quietly at a shady brook to watch a mossy antlered moose cooling off, Yellowstone provides a glimpse into what the United States looked like before being settled from coast to coast. Every American should feel obligated to visit two places in their lifetime: Yellowstone Park and New York City. One shows what we are, the other, what we were. Check out this gallery of Yellowstone beauty.