Do you know what was the world’s first national park?
The answer is Yellowstone National Park in the US. It took a photographer, a painter and a geological survey team to explore the region and convince the US Congress to withdraw this region from public auction. In 1872, Yellowstone was declared as—“a public park…for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
Once you visit Yellowstone, you know why this place is so special. It comprises a variety of landscape, rugged mountains, lush valleys, gushing rivers, pristine lakes, deep canyons, majestic waterfalls, tall geysers and colourful boiling springs. The park sits on top of the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super-volcano on the continent, containing 465 active geysers in a given year and about 10,000 geothermal features. About two-thirds of the world’s geysers and half of the world’s thermal features are located within Yellowstone Park. The wildlife is abundant here. Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, deer, bison and elks roam the park territory.
About 4 million people visit Yellowstone every year. I saw more Desi people in this park than in any other park I have visited in my life. Despite the hordes of tourists, Yellowstone was one of my most favourites. It is hard to express the beauty of this park in words. Perhaps the best description of Yellowstone comes from the naturalist John Muir, who in 1898, described the park as follows:
“However orderly your excursions or aimless, again and again amid the calmest, stillest scenery you will be brought to a standstill hushed and awe-stricken before phenomena wholly new to you. Boiling Springs and huge deep pools of purest green and azure water, thousands of them, are plashing and heaving in these high, cool mountains as if a fierce furnace fire were burning beneath each one of them; and a hundred geysers, white torrents of boiling water and steam, like inverted waterfalls, are ever and anon rushing up out of the hot, black underworld.”