Fall is perfect time to visit Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK and GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — God blessed many people with beautiful countries.

Canadians and Americans are surely among the blessed.

One needn’t leave New York’s Southern Tier or Western New York to appreciate that.

If, however, you’re of a mind to venture far away, then there are many places all across the country that can be on your list.

Yellowstone National Park, in northwest Wyoming, should be one of them.

It’s worth going, yet it’s not easy to get there.

Let’s put it this way: You’re unlikely to get lost and end up at Yellowstone.

During the fall, there’s a special bonus at many national and state parks, including Yellowstone: You’ll probably have the place largely to yourself.

Roads and parking lots that can be jammed during the height of the summer months tend to be relatively empty now.

So you can go where you want, when you want. Your views are of the park, not of taillights.

The main roads in Yellowstone are two circles, one to the north and one to the south. Think of them as the numeral eight.

One downside of going at this time of year is that, depending on the weather, part of the park may already be closed for the winter.

In mid-October a few years ago, the part of the northern circle from about 1:00 to 4:00 was inaccessible to the public.

Yes, cold comes early in northwest Wyoming.

In fact, no matter where you are in the park in October, you may have frost early in an October morning.

Nevertheless, you’ll be in for a spectacular time at one of the world’s amazing places.

You may well need two days to see Yellowstone, and much of a third day to see Grand Teton National Park, just to the south.

In Yellowstone, you’ll see mountains, valleys, and plains.

You’ll see streams, lakes, and waterfalls.

Thumb Lake, at the southern end of the park, is a breathtaking sight. Surrounded by trees and mountains, the calm waters glisten in autumn sunshine.

Take as many photos as you like, yet please understand this: In one sense, you may be disappointed with whatever photos you take, because it’s hard for a photo, or a collection of them, to do justice to Thumb Lake, or any of the rest of the park.

Throughout the park, you’ll also see bears and buffalo.

Just remember, though, that this is their home, not yours.

Some visitors get out of their cars, cameras in hand, and try to photograph buffalo that aren’t far away.

That’s not the brightest move, because visitors really shouldn’t want even one buffalo to charge them.

Yes, buffalo will do that.

Nor should visitors get too close to bears, especially to mothers with cubs. Some visitors just don’t appreciate that either.

Every year at Yellowstone, there are incidents of, shall we way, unwanted encounters with wildlife.

So stay on walkways, take a can of bear spray, and know how to use it, just in case of the unlikely event of a bear’s appearing near you.

If you’re flying home, leave your unused can of bear spray at the front desk of your hotel.

You can’t bring bear spray onto an airplane. Not even in your checked luggage. So, rather than throwing it away, you might as well leave it behind for someone else to have, just in case.

As you exit Yellowstone to the south, you’ll enter Grand Teton National Park, where you’ll see many more sights, including Jackson Lake with mountains standing majestically in the background.

You’ll appreciate these wonderful parts of creation.

Randy Elf joins those who enjoy national and state parks.

ç 2021 BY RANDY ELF.


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