Idaho and Yellowstone

One of the really nice things about living in Idaho is that you are very close to one of the greatest national parks in the United States, Yellowstone National Park. If you have ever been to Yellowstone, you know that it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet with some of the most unique natural features you can see anywhere. Old Faithful (Or the geyser that erupts from every half-hour to every two hours like geological clockwork) is something you cannot really find anywhere else and that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun and exciting things to do in the park. Sure, it can get pretty hot there (The last time I was at the park it was hard to go outside and very hard to go anywhere the hot springs and geysers that spewed hot water) but it is a small price to pay for the coolest national park in the country and there are better times of year when it comes to climate as well. And yes, Idaho is right up against Yellowstone National Park and if you are a resident of the state, you can pretty much visit the park at any time you want after only a few hours of driving. At most, it might take you the better part of a day to get there if you drive really slowly.

Of course, Idaho is not the state in which Yellowstone National Park resides. That honor goes to Wyoming. However, a sliver of the park does extend into Idaho and there are connected parks and forests that reach further past the borders of Wyoming and into Idaho. But what matters is just how quickly you can get into the park from anywhere in Idaho. Since Idaho has a large entrance right next to one of its borders, that time can be pretty quick. If you find yourself living in Idaho Falls or any of the other cities and towns that are in the eastern section of the state, it will only take you a couple of hours before you are in the natural beauty and splendor of the park. Even if you live way up in Coeur d’Alene and want to head down to Yellowstone, the drive is probably only going to take you six or seven hours at the most. Basically, if you want to have your Idaho cake and eat your Yellowstone cake, you can do that. There is no need to live in Wyoming, where Yellowstone National Park is pretty much the only cool thing there is to do (I am exaggerating of course). Idaho is full of cool things to do on the regular.

And really, you do not have to get very far into Wyoming to enjoy Yellowstone. In fact, you do not have to leave Idaho at all or enter the national park. We as humans have given the park boundaries in which it can be called Yellowstone, but nature tends not to care about where human borders are and the same things that you can see in Yellowstone National Park proper are things you can probably find in Caribou-Targhee National Forest which is largely within Idaho’s borders. You do not have to leave the state to get a part of the Yellowstone experience. There is also Grand Teton National Park which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is just across the border into Wyoming and a lot of what makes the area unique and fun is right on the border. A lot of the best parts of Yellowstone require that you travel deep into Wyoming (Which can certainly be okay) but Grand Teton National Park is just right there, easily accessible to any and every Idahoan.

Of course, Idaho being so close to Yellowstone National Park does come with a few downsides, the big one being that if the park explodes in that supervolcano eruption we are all very familiar with, Idaho is right next door and might be in some serious trouble. Alright, the Yellowstone supervolcano is probably not going to erupt. It has made so much as a peep (Comparatively speaking) in a few thousand years. At earliest, it will probably be a few thousand years more before anything big happens. Everyone likes to project what might happen and talk about how the Yellowstone eruption is imminent, but no one really knows when it will happen and those that have a good idea tend to agree that no living human will see it happen. It is very likely that no human for the next hundred or so generations will see anything happen. There is always a chance that scientists are wrong and the whole place will blow up tomorrow, but you are more likely to win big in the lottery sometime in the next 100 years than be affected by the Yellowstone supervolcano.

But how about we get speculative here. You might be wondering: “Even if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, what could that do to Idaho? Yeah, Idaho is close, but not that close.” Unfortunately, “close” does not really matter with a supervolcano and since Idaho is right up against Yellowstone National Park, there would definitely be consequences if there was an eruption. The best example to look at is the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. Mt. St. Helens is much farther away from Idaho than Yellowstone is and the ash from that eruption made its way to Idaho and caused a state of emergency. A supervolcano eruption would spew out a lot more ash and block out the sun for a significant amount of time (At least, that is what would be expected). Idaho would mostly be spared from the direct explosion and eruption, but the lasting effects would mean trouble for a lot of people in Idaho and a lot of people around the rest of the world. The ash from a supervolcano tends to just keep going and going and does not really care where borders are or how far away a place is.

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