Take Me Back To Yellowstone... : Soapbox I grew up in Idaho, with Yellowstone pretty much in my backyard. So you might think that seeing Old Faithful is no big deal for me, or that coming across a bison in the road is nothing new. But in reality? I get as excited as the next guy.
NPR logo Take Me Back To Yellowstone...

Take Me Back To Yellowstone...

Producer Laura Krantz collects sound in Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin. Liane Hansen hide caption

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Liane Hansen

I grew up in Idaho, with Yellowstone pretty much in my backyard. So you might think that seeing Old Faithful is no big deal for me, or that coming across a bison in the road is nothing new. But in reality? I get as excited as the next guy. The sheer, rugged beauty of this place hits me every time I come home (which isn't often enough). While Liane and I were prepping for an interview in Gardiner, Montana, the sun was just burning off the clouds on Electric Peak. It took my breath away. And our grizzly bear sighting? I was ecstatic — I can't remember the last time I saw a grizzly in the park.

Old Faithful, Canyon Village, Gardiner — most of the places that Liane and I went to for our Yellowstone series were places I'd visited before. The Old Faithful Inn always held a special fascination for me — every since I was little, I've always wanted to climb its rickety wooden stairs into the rafters. In producing this series, I finally got my wish. Not only did I get to go to the uppermost floors of the Inn, but I got to check out the view from the roof. Just try and tell me that your job is better than mine. (And thank you, NPR, for helping me realize a childhood dream...)

But animal sightings and Old Faithful aside, the best part of this trip was all that I learned. Yellowstone's been a part of my life for a long time. I remember the summer of the 1988 fires — it was hot and dry. The sky glowed an eerie orange for months and the smell of smoke filled the air. My family and I took snow cats into the park that winter — everywhere, blackened trees stood in stark contrast to the white snow. But I never knew all that much about what caused the fires or the fire history of the park. I didn't know the full life cycle of a lodgepole pine. I had no idea that the park's winter habitat was so limited. Spending time with people who know the park inside and out and learning from them really made this a great project to work on. I'm looking forward to going back again...

Also, I just want to give a big thank you to all those who took the time to help us with this project.

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