Two summers ago, my aunt, step-uncle, and brother went to “the American West.” The original plan was to visit my grandpaw in Kansas and then travel to YellowstoneNational Park, but we ended up going to every western state except California, Wyoming, and Oregon. On the second night of the trip, I got a little bit of a feel of what it would feel like to be homeless – we ended up sleeping in our camper in a parking lot because we could not find our campground. In the morning, we discovered it was only a few more miles away, which was when we all learned that patience (and maps) was definitely a virtue. A pretty cool aspect of the town that we stayed in that night, Silverthorne, Colorado, was that it was a mile about sea level. In Colorado, we traveled right through the center of the Rocky Mountains. They were breath-takingly gorgeous. I had never thought that “plain old rocks” could be so amazing, but their rugged beauty was, and still is, one of the most astounding sights I have ever seen.
We passed through Colorado into Utah, where we visited the DinosaurNational Monument, which was really interesting. Inside the museum, there was a cliff that had dinosaur bones and fossils buried in it. Seeing all of those fossils made me wonder if, thousands of years from now, people will look at modern man’s and animals’ bones, fossils, and relics and study us as intently as we do the artifacts of the past. In Salt Lake City, we visited the MormonTemple. My step-uncle is Mormon, so we got a more detailed tour than most. The gigantic pipe organ in the Temple looked amazing, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear it played.
Then came the highlight of the trip: YellowstoneNational Park. We camped at a place called BridgeBay, and there were buffalo and mule deer grazing around the R.V.’s. I was a little anxious about their being there at first, but after walking around a little bit, I realized that they just wanted to eat grass and completely ignored me. We went around the “big loop” of Yellowstone, and saw the Mud Volcano, which looked sort of like a really big mudpuddle that bubbled. We also saw the LowerFalls and UpperFalls, and the Virginia Cascade, which were beautiful. As far as geysers go, Old Faithful may be the most acknowledged geyser in Yellowstone, but in my opinion, Grand Geyser, which is actually the tallest predictable geyser in the world, was a lot more fascinating, mostly because it lasted longer and was a lot larger. During the course of driving to various places in the park, we saw five wild bears which was a little bit alarming, because they were all less than 100 feet away from our vehicle. Three of the bears were a black bear sow and her two cubs, but the other two bears were grizzlies, It astonished me that people were actually outside of their cars looking at a grizzly bear when it was that close. We also visited Mammoth Hot Springs, which was very pretty. On the way back to our camper for the last night, we passed a place called Sheepeater Cliff. We didn’t stop to find out, but I bet there’s an interesting story behind that!
The remainder of our trip was just driving around various states and then a long trip back home. We visited a lot of very interesting places, and I learned that even things considered “wild” and “rugged” can be beautiful.
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