09/30/2012 10:03 am ET Updated Nov 30, 2012

Yellowstone National Park Lives Up To Its Reputation (PHOTOS)

In planning my latest trip, partly due to the film, Where the Yellowstone Goes, I had been giving thought to the Yellowstone River and our nation's first national park. So I flew into Missoula and met up with friend and fly fishing guide Joel Thompson of Montana Troutaholics.

We had a full itinerary: Five rivers in six days, from Missoula to Great Falls by way of Yellowstone.

I was most excited about the Yellowstone leg of the journey. I had never been, but for almost six months I read about the park, and set my DVR to record anything containing the keyword "Yellowstone." I learned much about the unique geological characteristics, the wildlife and the history of our nation's first national park. As my departure date grew near, I was actually starting to worry. Were my expectations too high? Could it really be as special as I was dreaming it would be?

In two days you can not even scratch the surface, but with just that limited time, Yellowstone National Park has made it to the very top of my list. It is the most beautiful, powerful, magical place I have ever had the privilege to be. I can't wait to return, but for now my photos will have to serve as reminders that truly special places do exist, and thanks to the National Park Service, will be preserved for generations to come.

Yellowstone National Park