My husband, my two sons, and I travel to Yellowstone National Park every summer for a two week vacation. My husband and I began this tradition more than twenty years ago, when he introduced me to camping after we graduated from high school. I immediately fell in love with Yellowstone - the spectacular scenery, the wildlife, and the thermal features. We've visited different places over the years, other national parks in the western US, and although each is beautiful in its own right, I am always drawn back to Yellowstone.
We were fortunate to have visited the park in 1987, the year before the great fires of 1988, and seen the landscape before it was ever-changed (in a good way) by those fires. Summer of 1988 we chose to tour the coast of California before we even knew of the fires that would rage through the park. The following year, we returned, to find a completely different landscape. Gone were the magnificent forests in many places, replaced by charred trees, and acres and acres of beautiful purple fireweed flowers. Millions of tiny lodgepole pine saplings could be seen emerging through the black soil.
The park hadn't burned and been destroyed, as so many people feared. Yes, the landscape may not be as green for the time being, but life was resurfacing everywhere, and the forests were undergoing a much-needed time of renewal. We have seen the birth of these new forests, and witnessed their growth and development over the last twenty plus years. Yellowstone, the land of fire and ice, is an ever-changing, dynamic landscape. We never return with the same experience twice. Each year we visit brings new encounters, new adventures.
Two hundred years ago, during the setting for Yellowstone Heart Song, the landscape looked much different than is does today. Whether due to natural forces, or the influence of man in later years, I had to envision some of these differences, and hopefully managed to portray them somewhat accurately in my novel.
Happy New Year