Where Did You Find or Leave Bear?: Derwood, MD

The next three days flew by for Lucy and her friends as they made multiple trips into Yellowstone. The park was bigger than any other park that Lucy or her friends had ever been to and even after three days they still hadn’t come close to seeing everything they could.

Lucy and her friends learned that Yellowstone was created through a series of volcanic and violent tectonic movements. The center of Yellowstone is a large caldera, an underground volcano that is still quite active today. However, since this “super volcano” is below ground level, layers of water and earth on top of it allow the volcano to release the pressure that builds up underground through numerous geysers and sulfuric hot pools. The most famous geyser in in Yellowstone is Old Faithful, a geyser that goes off on such a regular basis that rangers in the park can predict the time when the geyser will erupt next to within 10 minutes. The plume of water and steam that explode out of the geyser amazed Lucy and her friends.

After seeing Old Faithful, Lucy got to wander in and among other geysers and many of the hot pools which came in a variety of beautiful colors including bright sapphire blues, deep rust reds, and even bright neon yellows. Some of the pools were quiet with thin wisps of steam blowing across their surfaces while others bubbled violently, engulfed in steam. Some were even filled with mud, spitting mud bubbles up into the air. The colors of the pools came in part from the sulfur and acids in the water but also from the numerous bacteria that inhabit the super hot pools. In fact Lucy learned that the DNA work her friends do is possible because of a bacteria found in the hot pools and geysers of Yellowstone in the 1980s.

Following their time at the hot pools, Lucy and her friends drove through the rest of the park, seeing breathtaking waterfalls and the deep Yellowstone canyon. The walls of the canyon were stained yellow from sulfur and other mineral deposits and is the reason the park was named Yellowstone. The water was so crystal clear and vibrant blue against the green of the trees and yellow of the rock it was beyond words, and Lucy and her friends spent hours hiking along its rim.

Lucy and her friends got to see lots of the park’s wild inhabitants as well. Giant elk and furry bison wandered in and out of the trees, even crossing the roads and looking into car windows. At first Lucy was scared but when she saw the small baby bison she couldn’t help but fall in love with them. Lucy and her friends even got to see the park’s two most elusive residents, two bull moose and a grizzly bear. The trio found the two bull moose relaxing in the noon day sun, eating the leaves off of bushes in a clearing. They watched the pair for awhile, marveling a their huge antlers. As for the grizzly bear, the friends got to see him getting a quick drink from a river while he protectively kept watch over a dead elk that was his dinner in the middle of the river. The group watched the bear for awhile until suddenly he sniffed the wind and looked directly at them.

“Hi cousin,” Lucy called out and the bear nodded his head in acknowledgement before settling into the weeds for a nap.

On the last day of the trip Lucy and her friends traveled a few miles south to Grand Teton National Park. Like Yellowstone, Grand Teton was breathtaking. Grand Teton was much more mountianous than Yellowstone with large peaks dominating the landscape, and many more crystal blue lakes, such as Lake Jackson and Lake Jenny. The mountain peaks were so high they still had snow on them and Lucy and her friends learned that the snow was actually glaciers still resting on the sides of the mountains many cliffs. Grand Teton was the largest of the mountains and Lucy’s favorite. In the park, Lucy and her friends saw more herds of bison and elk, but also herds of small, colorful prong-horned deer, and scruffy little coyote out looking for breakfast.

At one of the rest stops Lucy made friends with entire wall of different teddy bears and furry animals, all hoping to go on adventures of their own. Outside Lucy got to ride on a real covered wagon and pay inside a teepee.

As the sun began to get lower in the sky, Lucy and her friends drove back into Yellowstone and went swimming in Firehole River. Lucy enjoyed jumping off the rocks and into the water, allowing the current to take her on a ride down into the larger pool where the group swam. They ended their evening in the park by watching Old Faithful erupt one last time at sunset.

“This has been a great trip,” Lucy mused as she packed up her suitcase. “Thank you so much for taking me.”

“We had a great time with you, Lucy,” her friends replied. “We’re glad you were able to join us. Where do you think you will go next?”

Lucy thought for a moment. “If I had a choice I think I would like to go to Colorado and see more of these amazing Rocky Mountains, but the best part of an adventure is the journey.”

“Well, we wish you the best of luck wherever you go,” her friends smiled.

After saying good-bye and giving lots of hugs, Lucy Cavendish put on her sunglasses, grabbed her suitcase and headed out into the early morning sunlight ready for her next big adventure.

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