Friday, August 29, 2008

Mt. Washburn

Today we drove to the top of Mt. Washburn, which at 10, 243 feet is the tallest peak in Yellowstone. Henry Washburn was the general surveyor for Montana after the Civil War. He headed the Washburn Expedition into the Yellowstone area in 1870. Along with naming the tallest mountain in the area, that expedition is credited with naming Old Faithful too. We did not survey the mountain nor name any features, we just looked at the windswept view from the top of the world. The trees are stunted; the soil is thin; the views are enormous; the hand of man is not present.

One sad feature of the landscape is the devastation left by fire. Yellowstone had horrible fires 20 years ago. Today you can see the burned trees turned silver with age as well as lots of new growth. Yellowstone is a live ecosystem that is working. The fires cleaned out the old wood that was plagued with pine bark beetle and what has come back is a new healthy forest.

On our way home we saw a small herd of elk. One of them had on a radio collar. September is coming so the rut will begin soon.

1 comment:

phaedruscj said...

Drove to the top of Mt washburn?

How? there is no public road.