This location is among my most favorite in all of Yellowstone National Park, so naturally I had to shoot it at night! Normally I do not like to include human-made elements in my photos - in my mind if they are not naturally occurring then it's no longer an image of nature. Sometimes, though, our architecture and respect of the natural world can coexist in an incredibly beautiful way - and I think we have accomplished that here. Maybe that's why I love this area of the park so much! It appeals to my mathematical, practical, structured, engineering side with the two beautiful sigle arch bridges, one of which has stood for over a century. Despite the reminder of civilization, there is also the reminder of the wildness and overwhelming power of this place, in the raging Yellowstone River carving up the massive boulders below. As I watch the rivermoving around those boulders, I'm always reminded of a water ride at an amusement park in Ohio called Cedat Point, named "Thunder Canyon." As a kid I'd ride with family and friends and we'd all laugh at the people getting soaked, and get laughed at as we got soaked over and over. For some reason, there's always one in the raft who stays dry. Those are great memories to reflect on as I get away from the crowds for a while and watch the river go by. There are three arches in this photo. The most prominent one on the right hand side is the Canyon Bridge, most often viewed from the Upper Falls Overlook. This bridge was opened in 1915 to vehicular traffic, but as vehicles changed and the bridge aged, it was closed and is now only open to foot traffic. It is crumbling and I fear people are helping it on its way. It would be a shame to lose this treasure hidden in plain sight. The second arch is upriver, near the middle of the frame. It is the Chittenden Memorial Bridge, opened in 1963. It replaced the original bridge built in the same location there in 1903, which was also a single arch but with a different appearance. I tried to find information on whether the architects of this bridge based its look on the Canyon Bridge, but I could not find anything either way. However, it is hard to not make that comparison. Aesthetically, the two bridges appear as twins and connect the entire landscape, in my opinion. As an aside, when viewing the Upper Falls from the overlook, it's the Canyon Bridge on the right that is visible, not the Chittenden Memorial Bridge. Most people when at the falls remember driving over a single arch bridge, so when they see one from the overlook, they assume the one they see is the one they drove over when, in fact, it isn't! The third arch, actually arc, is the milky way. Of course, we can only see a small portion of it in this photo, but the milky way extends over the entire sky, just like a rainbow. Depending on the time of night, if you photograph the entire thing it will look like an arch due to the relative prespective we have of it, as we view it on earth. In this photo, we can see the entire core of the milky way, the dark horse nebula, the lagoon nebula, a few million stars, and some pretty strong atmospheric airglow. This is my among my favorite places in Yellowstone - wild and beautiful, connected to me through my mind and memories. And here it is lit only by the faint light from the distant stars of the cosmos.
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