We finally pulled ourselves out of bed and drove back into Yellowstone. The kids have all been so excited about coming here because a man named John Colter is considered the first white man in Yellowstone. My grandmother Worley’s maiden name was Coulter. My Grandfather Worley thoroughly enjoyed genealogy as a hobby, so I asked him one time if John Colter was related to us. His response was, “Well, we like to claim him.” Needless to say, I have no idea if we are actually related to John Colter, but that has given us a personal connection to Yellowstone which has made it all the more interesting.
So, the first thing we decided to do was to go to a Visitors’ Center with an exhibit on the people who have been involved in the history of Yellowstone. It wasn’t actually our first stop, but it was a nice exhibit from which we learned a great deal. It had just a small part on John Colter (who has a very interesting life as he was part of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and was the only person given permission to leave the Corps of Discovery on its return trip so that he could go explore even more. I purchased a book about him and look forward to reading it, probably after my dad finishes it 😊.)
Our first good thermal views were of Mammoth Hot Springs. They were beautiful. We had a great time walking around the boardwalks and viewing the many hot springs and various colors that were made from different minerals in the earth. And oh the smell of sulfur, yuck. That rotten eggs smell wasn’t pleasant, but it was worth it to see the beauty.
We primarily spent the day driving around seeing the park and wildlife. We did stop at another Visitors’ Center to get a better understanding of the geology side of Yellowstone. They had great exhibits on the volcanic history of Yellowstone. I particularly loved one part where they had large cubes of ash. One cube was showing the amount of ash generated from Yellowstone’s eruption 2.4 million years ago. The next cube showed the ash generated from the eruption 1.2 million years ago, and the third cube showed the ash generated from the eruption 640,000 years ago. These cubes were different sizes but all relatively large (I am dismayed to discover that I have totally forgotten the numbers that were in my brain regarding this, so you won’t get the full effect unless you actually see this part of the exhibit). But the thing that amazed me the most was the 1 very small cube that represented Mt. St. Helen’s eruption in 1980. The amount of ash generated from Mt. St. Helens was miniscule compared to the ash generated from Yellowstone’s past eruptions. It does make you wonder the effects on the entire country and world if Yellowstone erupts again.
I have been excited about the wildlife that we have been able to see in Yellowstone. There are bison everywhere. We have seen several elk, and today we were able to see a black bear. I was even able to get a glimpse of a mother black bear and her two cubs, but they all quickly moved into the dense forest where we were unable to see them from a safe distance. I am still awaiting a moose. That has been the one thing I have wanted to see the most of this trip, and so far I have come up empty-handed. Of course, our visit here is not yet complete.
Just before heading back to the campground, we stopped to see a thermal area called Artist’s Paintpots. We saw hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots. The colors in some of these thermal areas were unbelievable. Unfortunately, my camera gave me no warning and the batteries died before we were able to get many pictures. (I did have spare batteries, but I had left them in the camera case in the car which would have been too far to walk back.) We really enjoyed seeing this area of the park.
As it was close to 9:00 when we made it back to West Yellowstone, we stopped at a local restaurant called Gusher for dinner. They had a special on all-you-can-eat spaghetti, so you can imagine what our big boys got. I did too, though I only had one plate. The littles enjoyed their pizza, and Charlie chose a hamburger patty. It was good food, and everyone went straight to bed when we got back to the camper.
Q: Amelia, what has been your favorite stop so far?
A: “The Grand Canyon.”
Q: What did you do/see there?
A: We played with my friends. Played on a playground. I played in the sand. Played in the back of the house. Played on the ground. Played games like “dolphin tails.” I bought things. Watched a movie. I ran on the concrete. I climbed trees. I fell. I saw about 30 elk I think. I saw a river at the park in the Grand Canyon. I saw butterflies. I saw trees, cars, airplanes, water, bags, rocks, cooler, and Noah. Everybody else built a fire. Us went to a beautiful Church. I saw a rainbow. We cooked lunch and breakfast on the fire.
Q: What was the weather like?
A: Weather was like cold. 1degree. It was sleeting, snowing, raining, misting, cloudy, and foggy.
Author: The First Man on Mars
Dictated By: Amelia
Note from Rebecca: I gave Ryon a hard time for embellishing so much on Isaac’s Kids’ Corner, so he wrote Amelia word for exact word. Kids…sometimes I don’t know what to do with them – just sigh, smile, and keep going.
Following your trip. Found a web site in my ShopSmart magazine (Consumer Reports) you may already know about but just in case you don’t – you can enter your location and it will tell you all the FREE campsites in the area.
I checked it out and it’s pretty neat.
Keeping you in thought and prayer.
Amelia, It sounds like you had a great time at the Grand Canyon. I would have enjoyed seeing the elk and butterflies myself and I would love to have watched you climbing trees.
Well first thing you all should do is teach the National Park Service how to spell “Coulter”.
Your grandfather was being a little modest and vague. My understanding is that several Coulter brothers immigrated to Pennsylvania from Scotland before the Revolutionary War. They fought in the Revolution. John Coulter of Yellowstone is from Pennsylvania and most likely a son of one of the revolutionary bothers/soldiers. He was chosen by Lewis and Clark as a scout for their expedition. While most of the expedition traveled by boat, John went ahead of the main body on land periodically returning and advising Merriweather and George on what lay ahead. He also helped hunt for game to feed the expedition traveling by water. You need to read about their first encounter with a Grizzly bear. Quite an experience. On the return trip from the West Coast the expedition met French trappers going up river who were very interested in what the expedition had seen as well as where the beaver were located. While the rest of the expedition couldn’t wait to get back home to their families after three years, Cousin John agreed to go BACK up river leading the trappers into the Rockies. Like you correctly stated, he was the only member released before the end of the expedition and according to George Rogers Clark it was in gratitude for his extraordinary and valuable service from the very beginning. At some point Cousin John and the trappers split and John on his own stumbled upon what is now Yellowstone National Park. I don’t know much what happened after that except he had at least one major run in with the Indians.
Our branch of the Coulters was led by John M. Coulter a revolutionary war veteran and most likely an uncle to Cousin John of the Yellowstone. John M. left Pennsylvania traveling south down the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road which crosses the Catawba River and went right through what is now Rock Hill to Georgia (and very likely down SC Hwy 72 past the Whisonant Farm). They settled and spent approximately one generation in Georgia before packing up again and heading west with their slaves. They made a short stop in Mississippi before arriving and settling in South Arkansas in 1835.
One branch actually settled in Union County (where El Dorado is located). The land that we still own in Union County was once owned by Coulters back in the mid-1800’s. That branch stayed until the outbreak of the civil war when they packed up and moved to Brazil before returning after the war and settling in Texas. Our branch of the Coulters settled in SW AR near the community now known as Lockesburg where many are located today. The Coulter farm that you visited was assembled by my great grandfather father Charles Picton Coulter. There are lots of good stories about our Coulters, their slaves and the civil war. Two years ago, Uncle Danny and I visited the battlefield where two brothers of our Coulters fought for the South in the Vicksburg campaign. Our Coulters were GOOD people and as good as slave owners could be at the time.
And Ryon you are wrong. I don’t know all of this because I am old enough that I actually lived it. And yes Rebecca, I will follow your mother’s instructions and SHARE the book with you AFTER I finish reading it.