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TVL To describe Yellowstone National Park as otherworldly is an understatement, for nowhere else on this planet does such a place seem to exist.

Indeed, the world's first national park, which is located in south central Montana and extends into Wyoming, is one endless and fascinating enigma; the curious are sure to come away only more so.

The park contains a large and varied collection of hydrothermal features -- an estimated 10,000 -- which includes bubbling mud caldrons, gurgling mineral springs and erupting geysers. The popular Old Faithful is just one of 200 active geysers to make up the complexion of this 2.2 million acre landscape.

And that is just the tip of this geological wonder.

There is no place in the contiguous 48 states that has as great a concentration of mammals as Yellowstone. While driving through the park, and particularly during the more congested summer months, it is easy to spot a rare animal. During the spring, one might see a possible animal birth, as many tourists concentrate along the side of the road with long lenses and binoculars.

It takes a more keen eye to track the elusive yet prevalent black or grizzly bear, so consider yourself lucky if you actually see one -- preferably from a distance.

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And while the dime-a-dozen bison are a seemingly harmless bunch, don't be fooled by their docile demeanor. Hundreds of park visitors are injured annually when exiting their vehicles and approaching the enormous beasts. They are another of God's creatures best viewed from a distance and, even better, from the safety of a car.

Other highlights of the park -- and there are too many to include all of them -- are the magnificent Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs.

For more information, go to www. yellowstonenationalpark.com.

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