In 1988, Yellowstone Park suffered a major wildfire. Some 1.2 million acres were scorched by a fire started by either man's carelessness or lightning and then exacerbated by the Park's policy of nonintervention. When man enters or as in this case refuses to enter the game, everyone and everything else seems to lose! It's really not totally fair to try and second-guess the Park Service. It is an almost impossible task to manage this vast ecosystem and still be able to satisfy and balance all of the needs of the wildlife, tourists and the government's budgeting process. In reality, they have done a pretty good job.
In 2001, our family spent a week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and we had yet another chance to tour both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It was the fiftieth anniversary of my first visit to the area. In 1951, however, the Black Bears begged for food from every vehicle driving through; this past trip we did not see even one.
In July of 2003, we were once again able to visit Yellowstone Park. It is sort of a tradition for us to fish at Buffalo Ford on opening day. This year, however, I probably pulled the dumbest stunt of my life by trying to wade over to an island in the middle of the Yellowstone River. The water was the highest in my over fifty year experience due to the considerable snow pack of this past winter. This still didn't deter my foolish behavior and somehow, with considerable effort and dumb luck, I was able to reach the pile of rocks in the center of the torrent. But there was no way that I could get back safely. Steve and Chris went for a team of Park Rangers who ultimately rescued me. However, during my three plus hours self-imposed island exile, I caught and released 26 Cutthroat Trout between 17 and 24 inches long and also hooked but couldn't land close to another dozen. I want to apologize to the Park Service for making them risk life and limb and thank them for bringing this old man to safety.
The first image of a mama Grizzly and her cubs is by Chris Murray. The second is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River showing the Lower Falls. The third picture is Daisy Geyser near Old Faithful. The fourth shows the Gardiner River in the northwest corner of the Park. The fifth is Mammoth Hot Springs and the sixth is the colorful Glory Hole. The seventh image is a winter view of the Fountain Paint Pots and the eighth is a view in the summer. The ninth photo shows the spectacular yet devastating fire that struck the Yellowstone area in 1988. The tenth photo is another beautiful shot of Yellowstone Falls. The eleventh is a view of lupines in bloom in front of the incredible Grand Tetons. The twelfth photo is Tower Falls. The next two photos were taken at almost the same vantage point and show the unbelievably beautiful Hayden Valley first during the day and again at sunset. The fifteenth picture was taken on a campout at Slough Creek...it shows the Big Dipper (Ursa major) as it can only be seen on a Montana night. The sixteenth picture shows 'The Flume' of the Snake River in Wyoming. The seventeenth looks up at the Grand Tetons from Jackson Hole. The eighteenth is a view of Mt. Moran. The nineteenth is of the Tetons from the Shelf. The twentieth is a wheat field on the road between Jackson Hole and Island Park, Idaho. The twenty-first is a photo of Grays River in Wyoming south of Jackson. The twenty-second picture is the Lewis River Gorge on the way into Yellowstone National Park from the South Entrance. The twenty-third picture, taken in 1953, is of a pair of Black Bears on the road in Yellowstone National Park. The twenty-fourth image shows a recent picture of a pair of the seemingly vanishing Black Bears. The twenty-fifth photo shows the skeleton forest of trees still standing thirteen years after the fire. The next two pictures show first a Bull Bison and next a herd crossing the Yellowstone River at Buffalo Ford. The twenty-eighth image is a beautiful 24 inch Cutthroat caught on a size 20 Parachute Adams about to be released. The twenty-ninth picture shows Fishing Bridge just downstream from Yellowstone Lake. The thirtieth photo shows a foolish old man calling for help from the island at Buffalo Ford. The thirty-first is is a picture of Steve, Chris and George Monroe of the Park Service getting ready to rescue yours truly. The thirty-second image is of the group of Park Rangers about to launch the canoe to rescue the errant senior. The thirty-third image is the "Yellowstone River Still Life". The thirty-fourth is a panorama of the Tetons' alpenglow as viewed from the Shelf and the last image is a panorama of the Grand Tetons as viewed from Jackson Hole.
...Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are indeed a wonder!
Requiem for a Bear
Oh Yellowstone, once Grizzlies' Home,
In Hayden's Valley, they did roam;
From Norris Basin to Mount Dome,
Hot Geysers spout out timely Foam,
Each Paint Pot, colored, polychrome;
By Tower Falls, Dunraven take,
Past Mammoth Springs; there's River Snake;
Grand Canyon's Walls; scaped Lewis Lake;
Yet Madisonís reshaped by Quake,
But Man, alone, makes Bearsí Hearts break!
Some fifty Years have flown right by,
Since first I camped Ďneath Tetonís Sky;
Where God provided Roof and Bed,
Of that, Enough, cannot be said!
With Mountains high above my Head,
We biked through Woods; fly-fished, Maps spread,
And searched to find Wildlife ahead,
Or hiked, mossed Trails, till Blisters, red;
Scorched Pine Trees crossed each blackened Ridge;
No longer Bears at Fishing Bridge!
I waded o'er the Yellowstone,
So different than I'd ever known;
To reach that Island of my Youth,
This Time, alas, too 'Long in Tooth';
Dark, raging Waters trapped me there,
But not to worry; don't despair;
Park Rangers came, Canoe, much more,
And brought this Codger back to Shore;
Disturbing them was no one's Wish,
Good Lord, I caught a Bunch of Fish!
Click on me...please be
patient, this is indeed a very large file!
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© Howard B.Eskin 2003