Three years ago, my family, journeyed from our suburban home in Frankfort, Illinois, to the beautiful, stunning wilderness of Yellowstone National Park—by car. It took three full days to make the entire trip. But it was worth it! Oh, it was worth it! To see Old Faithful blast skyward, to hike through somber pine forests by clear, cool streams. It was a vision of superb beauty that a suburbanite like me usually sees only in the pages of a book.
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As we began our westward trek, the surrounding landscape was shapeless; all flat through Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. On the second day, we crossed into South Dakota, but still the same vast prairie-land stretched to the horizon. Looking at the map, we saw the Missouri River ahead. As we crossed it, a great shout went up from all of us. Hills were on the other side: rolling hills, grassy hills, hills upon hills upon hills! We no longer tired of looking out the window. The third day, though was even better. Crossing into Montana, nothing much had changed. That’s when we saw them—mountains! Rearing up their heads like proud giants, with sunshine glittering on the distant snow-covered peaks, they struck awe and wonder into my heart and soul. To this day, I have never seen any earthly sight so wonderful yet terrifying, magnificent yet frightening, beautiful yet fearful. Our journey from Illinois was almost over.
At last we arrived at Yellowstone Park. Although it seems safe enough, the reason for the park’s effervescent geysers is that most of the park is in the caldera of one of the world’s largest volcanoes. The result is what draws most of the crowds: hot springs and geysers that bubble and steam. However, not all of the springs are so active. Many are inconceivably deep, still pools, bottomless mirrors whose water is scorching hot and fatally poisonous. Such deadly fascinations were only a few of the wonders of Yellowstone.
Because most of the park resides in an ancient super-volcanic caldera, it is one of the most beautiful, dazzling, and fascinating places on the face of the earth. One breath of the clear mountain air is like a drought of cool, fresh water. Hiking the well-beaten paths, we felt wonderfully alive and invigorated. Above was the bluest sky, and bubbling and laughing at our side were the clearest streams. We trekked broad, grassy valleys where herds of bison grazed, and threaded our way through forests of towering pines. Arriving at the edge of a canyon, we beheld a shimmering waterfall, plunging into a many-colored mist. This was the famed Artists’ Point, the glory and grandeur of which surpasses Niagara, even if the size does not. But constantly surrounding us were the mountains. They constituted the ground we walked on, they flanked our sides, and they towered high above. Encircled by the beauty of pristine creation, our hearts praised the divine genius of the Creator.
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