Sep 24, 2020
Not too many people are doing any leisure travel with all of the concern over contracting COVID-19. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t see other parts of the county or the world for that matter. I have been writing a novel where my characters went on a cruise. I wanted the story to be credible, so I researched each destination on the internet and described the experience as seen through the eyes and cameras of others. I feel like I have been to those places, every bit as much as those I have actually travelled to over the years.
I decided it would be fun to take you all traveling with me to somewhere I have always wanted to go. This time, we’re going to Yellowstone National Park. The National Parks website, NPS.GOV has a variety of visual resources that allow you to explore the park virtually. The easiest to navigate are the video walks which are simply a photographer, walking along the path to a specific feature or destination while filming the scenery. This trip is highly educational but still allows for plenty of recreation.
The first video walk I explored and recommend is the Upper Terrace parking lot to Canary Spring at Mammoth Hot Spring. The path is easy, it’s a boardwalk which keeps the visitor to the site as well as the landscape protected. The link to this walk is: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=5E3D3C8B-02AB-1166-7C3F8F5AD4DEE26B
The Canary Spring walk is the longest of the video walks; about 10 minutes. It is a beautiful day under partly cloudy skies and the photographer seems to take one short rest break along the way. At the end of the walk, the Canary, Dryad Spring offers a stunning view of the Travertine terraces enhanced by the diverse Thermophilic Bacteria.
Uncle Tom’s parking area to the overlook of the Upper Falls is the subject of the next video walk. This path is paved in asphalt and an easy 1 minute 11 second walk. It was filmed while the ground was covered in snow, but the path is clear. The Link is:
Dragons Mouth Spring at Mud Volcano is another easy walk along a boardwalk. As you approach the end of the path, you clearly see the steam rising into the air from the crevasse in the rocks at the edge of the spring. The link is:
This walk takes a duration of less than two minutes, but the view is spectacular.
Lookout Point is the next destination with the purpose of viewing the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. The path is again paved in asphalt. Even virtually, you’re thankful for the metal railings that protect visitors from falling from the steep ravine along which the path travels. The link is:
One of the rewards for completing this two-minute virtual walk is a view of the falls with the colors of the rainbow visual within the falling water.
Once you complete the easy virtual walks, the site offers map-based tours with links to discover many aspects of each section of the park. The tours will take anywhere from a few moments to many hours depending on how many of the embedded links you follow as you explore. To begin the first of the map-based tours, follow this link:
You are taken to a map with it’s own embedded links treating you at a variety of experiences.
- Mammoth Hot Springs
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
- Mud Volcano
- Fountain Paint Pot
- Upper Geyser Basin
- Yellowstone in 3-D
As you or your children explore Yellowstone National Park virtually from the links supplied by the National Parks Service, you may want to answer some easy questions to make sure you are getting the best experience possible. I have complied a few for you to test your comprehension of the basic information that is available to you on the site. These can be answered by taking the map-based tours at the initial level. However, you will get the most enjoyment out of clicking every link and exploring deeper into the site. The Answers follow the questions.
- What is the name of the limestone-based rock which forms the terraces of Mammoth Hot
- What causes the soil in the Norris Geyser Basin to be yellow?
- What colorful insect is commonly found in the North Geyser Basin?
- What species of bird are you likely to see in Spring the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone area?
- What is considered a safe distance from the Bison commonly viewed near the Mud Volcano?
- What does the paint consist of in the Fountain Paint Pot?
- What is the PH (Neutral) of Blood?
- Why was Fort Yellowstone Founded?
Answers: 1. Travertine, 2. Sulfur, 3. Dragonflies, 4. Osprey, 5. 25 yards or more, 6. Mud, 7. 7.4, 8. To increase the army presence and protect the parks natural resources.