Yellowstone National Park (Our 1st visit-Sep 30-Oct 7, 2012) is America's first and foremost National Park, established in 1872 by the United States Congress for the preservation of its many wonders and for the enjoyment of the people. Yellowstone is a treasure that inspires awe in travelers from around the world, boasting more geysers than anywhere else on the globe. Long before any recorded human history in Yellowstone, a massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the western U.S., much of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some areas of the eastern Pacific. The eruption dwarfed that of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and left a caldera 30 miles wide by 45 miles long. That climactic event occurred about 640,000 years ago, and was one of many processes that shaped Yellowstone National Park--a region once rumored to be the place where hell bubbles up. Geothermal wonders, such as Old Faithful, are evidence of one of the world's largest active volcanoes. These spectacular features bemused and befuddled the park's earliest visitors, and helped lead to the creation of the world's first national park. Fur trappers' fantastic tales of cauldrons of bubbling mud and roaring geysers sending steaming plumes skyward made their way back east.