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Hemingway Adventure

Bozeman, Montana

Yellowstone National Park, USA 
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Yellowstone National Park. Fountain Paint Pot. Thermal energy bubbles, squelches and hisses to the surface.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureA wolf, businesslike and preoccupied, trots off into the trees, a herd of elk passes more slowly, the females calling to each other in high-pitched whinnies. Every now and then the bull elk lets out a high, pumping cry which is known, accurately enough, as a bugle. A solitary bison with its huge head and spindly back legs grazes beside an old cavalry post. He looks vaguely incongruous, as if he’s been put there by the tourist office, but once he and his kind had this land pretty much to themselves. Nearly two hundred years ago, when the explorers Lewis and Clark made the first overland crossing of America, they reported that it took them ten days to ride through one bison herd. There are now fewer than three thousand left in the three and a half thousand square miles of Yellowstone Park.

High point of the day’s journey is the Craig Pass on the Continental Divide. Not only are we up above eight thousand feet but there’s something about the name and the concept of a continental divide that has always appealed. Like the North or South Pole or the source of the Amazon, it’s a place that is far more significant than it looks.

Spend a while turning my head one way and then the other, trying to take in the fact that rain falling on one side of me drains east to the Mississippi, and rain falling on the other side of me may well end up coming out of a lawn sprinkler in Beverly Hills. We return home past the thermal wonders of the Park like the Old Faithful Geyser and the bubbling Fountain Paint Pot hot springs. I toy with the idea of a documentary on such places called This Flatulent Earth.

But the big sights are full of people and that was what Hemingway came out west to get away from. He came to write and hunt and I must try and find some of his present-day counterparts.
 
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Bozeman, Montana
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Bozeman, Montana
  • Book page no: 237

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