Our first foray into Yellowstone National Park was relatively short and covered some of the area from the west entrance down to the Old Faithful complex. It is our first time in the park in over 20 years, before the great fire of 1988. It is amazing as we remembered it.
There were some obvious differences, first the volume of visitors is much higher, the effects of the 1988 fire are still evident in many parts of the park and the commercial nature of Old Faithful center a bit of a surprise. But in talking with some long time residents and rangers, that is an ebb and flow and the level of commercialism today is apparently much less than in the early part of the parks history-relatively speaking.
In any case, it was a great day of vistas and animal sightings. In the few hours in the park, we saw grizzly bear, elk, coyote, buffalo, and assorted other creatures and enjoyed the scenery. We also saw a large number of fly fishermen and noticed the many fly fishing emporiums in West Yellowstone. Historically, this has always been an important part of the Yellowstone experience. Watching these folks makes me think about getting a fishing license and renting some gear. We are looking forward to a number of additional days of park roaming.