Tower Power And An Archean Gneiss

Yellowstone is a massive piece of real estate. With around 2.2 million acres, you could spend a lifetime here and not see it all. With that thought in mind I am doing my part to experience as much of it as I possibly can while I’m here.

IMG_3322Tower Falls
Tower Falls

Living in Yellowstone for the summer is living life on the edge. We probably won’t experience a violent explosion while we’re out there in the middle of the caldera. But then again, you never know. This is Yellowstone, after all – home to one of the world’s largest active volcanoes.

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Biscuit Basin with the Mallard Lake resurgent dome just beyond it

From now on, if anyone asks me where they might hike in Yellowstone and not be consumed by the maddening summer crowds, I’ll know exactly what to tell them.
Try the trail to Osprey Falls, I’ll say. You’ll probably meet so few people that you could count them on one hand. 

Osprey Falls

At first glance, the springs looked like purple motor oil cascading down the bleached hillside. I had read somewhere that there are small hydrocarbon deposits in Yellowstone, so I wondered if these might be some of those.

IMG_3000 WashburnHot Springs
Washburn Hot Springs

I know this may be hard to believe, but there is much more to attract your attention in and near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks than that dang supervolcano and a big bunch of mountains.
If you can manage to drive past and then elbow your way through the throngs of bewildered out–of–state (and out–of–country) summer tourists and find a quiet place to ponder life’s mysteries, Jackson Wyoming has a lot of local color to offer the discriminating and thirsty traveler.

SnakeRiver Brewpub

Consider this establishment, for instance. I recently chose a hotel in Jackson for a relaxed weekend getaway based on its walkable proximity to large vats of fermenting adult beverages.

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Snake River Brewing brewpub

My first beverage choice was See You In Helles, described as a “full–bodied yet delicate helles lightly hopped with Tattnanger and Hallertauer hops.”  It was #1 on the list from lightest to darkest.

Very tasty!

My next selection was Hoback Hefewiezen, “a cloudy wheat brewed Ale with a smooth spicy refreshing taste. This Bavarian style beer is unfiltered for extra flavor.”  It was #2 on the light/dark list.

IMG_3310Hoback Hefewiezen
Is the lemon REALLY necessary?  It kept hitting my nose.

Should I have stayed at the brewpub and worked my way down the darkening list? Good luck with that!  I was already falling asleep after just two pints and it was only 3:00 in the afternoon.
Next time.  #3.  After my nap.I’ll admit it. I was a nervous wreck. I’d heard all sorts of stories about Avalanche Peak, mostly about how stupendously steep the trail is. It’s a short trail, my young hiking buddies all said. It’s only two miles long, they reassured me. We’ll go slowly. You can do it!

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Southeast bowl, Avalanche Peak


Katherine Hanson

Hey there, I'm Katherine Hanson, the curator of, a site dedicated to uncovering the hidden gems of the USA. With a passion for exploration and a love for discovering the beauty in every corner of this vast country, I'm on a mission to share the best cities, national parks, historic landmarks, and entertainment hotspots that the USA has to offer. From towering mountains to bustling cities, there's so much to see and experience. Join me as I embark on adventures and uncover the wonders that make America truly remarkable.
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