3 days ago
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Tomorrow we leave for a short, intense trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Our first night will be in Chico Hot Springs Resort and Spa, in the highly irrigated Paradise Valley due north of Yellowstone's North Entrance. It's most certainly one of the prettiest spots on the face of the earth (and Chico's is consistently one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten in, by the way). Compare the photo of the irrigated greensward along the approach to the resort with the photo taken exactly two years ago of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone. The lump to the left of the road is Soda Butte Cone, an active thermal feature out there all by itself, relatively far away from any other thermal activity.
Note, of course, the color of the brush, mostly sage and forbs, (only a little actually qualifies as grass.) This is what Nature looks like at the end of a long, hot, dry summer. The fires creating the choking ash and smoke of the Web cam captures, below, have been quenched, and primarily through soaking rains rather than fire-fighting efforts, though some are still smoldering in places, and some small new ones have started. In spite of what some pundits claim, that the fires are due to chronic "mismanagement" of the forests, in truth their occurrence cannot be 100% managed. They are, and always have been, part and parcel of Mother Nature. We only hope they contain themselves to uninhabited areas and don't endanger lives or property.
Trip report to follow in a couple of weeks!!