The American Pilgrim
It is a given that at least once in his or her lifetime every American aspires to visit Yellowstone National Park — the oldest of all National Parks signed into to law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. The draw to come here are all the animals that move through and live in this large area as well as the interesting landscape and features formed by geothermal activity. The holy relic is of course Old Faithful, the geyser of all geysers. There are in fact many geysers in Yellowstone as well as various sorts of holes in the ground bubbling steam, hot water and noxious fumes. It’s kind of a marvelous mystery land, in particular for a certain breed of microbiologist who study thermophiles or organisms that love hot environments. I know this because while waiting for the “Vixen” geyser to erupt two German travelers sat down, one being a microbiologist who had been at a recent thermophile convention nearby (nerd!). Susi taught me some basic stuff about these fascinating organisms, and we hope she will be able to characterize some hypothetical samples that may or may not have been collected after an eruption.
The park was quite cold while I was there with temperatures dropping down to 28ºF (-2ºC). Campfires kept us warm, but sleeping definitely required proper gear. Every morning the water in my glass would be frozen as well as my olive oil….brrr