Ranger Kathryn's Arches

January 14, 2015

Dazzled indeed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 2:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Still, what I want in my life

is to be willing

to be dazzled —

to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even

to float a little

above this difficult world.”

— Mary Oliver


It’s the dead of winter. My newly-waxed skis slip rhythmically across the shining snow; out-of-practice muscles welcome the exertion.

A coyote ambles past, making its circuit, following its nose, and a lone bison munches on green grasses it exposed using its massive head as a snowplow. Two trumpeter swans ply the Firehole River. Plumes of steam, rising like “the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,” confirm that I am in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone is a geothermal hotspot atop an active super-volcano, its immense magma chamber roiling just a few miles below the surface. Here, geysers expel super-heated water; hot springs burble and boil, fumaroles hiss, mudpots blurp. The ground feels quite alive under me, sounds and smells and sights emanating from a mysterious subterranean labyrinth.

Dazzled I am; few places can astound the senses like wintry Yellowstone can. I have the extreme privilege of being at Old Faithful, deep in the interior, visiting my beloved who is a winter seasonal park ranger. Fewer than 100,000 visitors — not even 3% of annual visitation — brave the obstacles to experience Yellowstone in winter. This is the solitude season, surely the most stunning of them all.

Leave a comment: What stops you from considering a winter visit?


  1. Envious. I’m envious of your time in the chilled air and the blue sky, the chance to be out in the open….keep enjoying and thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Laurie Ruble Mathews — January 14, 2015 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  2. Winter in Yellowstone is the best. No crowds, beautiful skiing…add Mary Oliver to it and you’ve created a perfect post!

    Comment by westerner54 — January 14, 2015 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

    • You’ve nailed the two best reasons why all my future visits will be winter ones. Also, the wildlife congregates near geyser basins so is much easier to see. All in all — superb!

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — January 14, 2015 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  3. I am enjoying this winter wonderland vicariously through you, dear friend! Not sure if I will ever get there in person, but who knows….

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — January 14, 2015 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  4. I Believe that the cold air would be much more tolerable with scenery like that! The pictures look like a.fantasy land and the bison looks intimidating.

    Comment by Kristin Hackel — January 14, 2015 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

    • I’m brainstorming a blog post on bison, including a photo I took of what NOT to do when they are near. They look intimidating because they ARE intimidating — America’s largest land mammal.

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — January 14, 2015 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  5. I would love to visit Yellowstone in the Winter! When I started work in the late spring there was still snow on the ground to give me a little glimpse of what it could be like.

    Comment by Ranger Kaiti May — January 15, 2015 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  6. Reblogged this on Geophilia Photography and commented:
    If you love the national parks as I do check out Ranger Kathryn’s Arches blog. Although she’s at Arches this post is about my beloved Yellowstone with beautiful photos of Yellowstone in the winter – going to Yellowstone in the winter is a big dream for me.

    Comment by Ana Perry — February 3, 2015 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

    • By all means, plan and go! I put up a couple more photos and a new post just now — I hope you enjoy their beauty. If that doesn’t whet your appetite…

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — February 3, 2015 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

      • Wet my appetite? I’m already drooling LOL. Sadly it will be a few years. But on the way I do plan on coming your way again. I regret not hiking to Delicate Arch. I spent the whole day hiking and dealing with dehydration (I didn’t get the memo about bringing water bottles). By the time I got there I had to choose the short route. Next time I’ll bring water.

        I do love your site, and Arches is one of my favorite NP’s

        Comment by Ana Perry — February 5, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    • I forgot to say: thanks for reblogging! Fun to share the Yellowstone beauty with a few more readers.

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — February 4, 2015 @ 6:50 am | Reply

      • It sure is. I was an amazing experience. But no picture can truly capture the beauty, varied geography and tremendous size.

        Thank you for sharing, NP’s are near and dear to my heart.

        Comment by Ana Perry — February 5, 2015 @ 11:32 am

  7. wow we will be back in early september. magical place and doubly so in winter~

    Comment by cindy knoke — February 3, 2015 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  8. wow, amazing pictures!

    Comment by nalinki — February 4, 2015 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: