Yellowstone-how to trap a tourist


wp-1468238868801.jpegThis day is starting out strangely. I am holed up in my tent waiting for the rain to stop. I don’t mind riding in rain, but it is 40 degrees out. I don’t mind riding in cool temperatures, but I don’t have the proper gear with me to handle hours of cold rain. The rain is supposedly going to back off by mid-morning so I am marooned in my tent until then. In the meantime I will tell you my impressions of Yellowstone.

I have spent the past four days meandering slowly through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I expected to see beautiful things and interesting wildlife and my expectations were met. But there was one thing I did not expect and when I started exploring Yellowstone, I was taken aback.

Yellowstone is creepy.

Really creepy. Aside from the now normal, “Bear and Wolves Crossing” signs, every bathroom in the park was draped with the many ways that Yellowstone wildlife could kill me.

Bears and wolves are in a special, “Super Dangerous” category.

But meeting up with moose or bison could also be fatal, according to the reassuring signs in the restrooms.wp-1468239071799.jpegwp-1468239281981.jpeg

But the wildlife was nothing compared to the dangers of the geothermal features. Most of Yellowstone is located on a caldera and portions of the caldera have a very thin crust. Signs warn that merely stepping on innocent-looking portions of earth could be fatal. And of course, the actual geysers, mudpots, fireholes and whatever else are also dangerous, filled with boiling water. At least one spring is so acidic it will dissolve skin.

Then, after telling me these things they expected me to walk around the boardwalks to view the danger up close and personal. Which I did, of course. I mean everyone else was doing it and they weren’t dead yet. So I joined the throngs of people and tempted fate by leaning over the railing to get a good look at what hot magma can do to water. The steam and the stench of sulphur overwhelmed my senses. Yellowstone, I decided, was very bizarre.wp-1468239428496.jpegwp-1468239022963.jpegwp-1468238959265.jpeg

I saw one guy step off the boardwalk and walk right to the edge of a mudpot, smiling widely for a photo. I shuddered, wondering if I was about to see a tragedy unfold. But an older gentlemen yelled at him to get back on the boardwalk and when he made it back to safety, I cheered silently.

wp-1468238815311.jpegYellowstone is a tourist trap in the fullest sense of the word. Once you enter the park you are trapped: surrounded by many dangers. To escape the labyrinth, you must navigate through high-volume traffic, large masses of people, unpredictable wildlife and boiling hot water, all while traveling on unstable ground.

Honestly, it was loads of fun.

 

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31 thoughts on “Yellowstone-how to trap a tourist

  1. I didn’t care for Yellowstone. It was one giant traffic jam on the lower loop. The upper loop was much better. But I can’t complain too much because i was one of the cars causing the traffic jams.

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    • Yeah, I heard the upper loop was better but I guess that is also where all the bears are this year as well! It was easier to navigate on a bike, I just laughed as cars had to wait forever to get a parking spot.

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  2. I was in Yellowstone about a year after a huge fire, that scorched a good portion of the park. Yes, you do have to be careful, but that’s all part of being there with nature. Old faithful wasn’t very faithful, even with the modified estimated schedule they were posting. We did see a moose taking his casual stroll over old faithful. Was cool seeing all the wildlife. The cruise on Snake River was cool, as I could see the Grand Tetons being snowed on … very cool.

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    • Wow, that must have looked super depressing! That area now looks so wonderful, filled with young, bright green trees. The newy forested section was probably my favorite part.

      Same with Old Faithful!! I stood in the cold morning rain for a full hour…the prediction was 45 minutes off. Some things never change πŸ™‚

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  3. Unfortunately all those warning signs are needed… but people don’t follow them. This year there’s been a death from falling in a hot spring, and then a few in Canada have warrants out for their arrest after they took video on a thermal feature. People are constantly trying to pet the wildlife and take selfies with them, and of course then there’s the baby buffalo that someone put in their car because “it looked cold.” The common joke is soon Yellowstone will be closed to everyone except WY, ID, and MT residents. I think you’re a brave person for riding a bike through there! I’m not sure I could go back and deal with all the stupid tourists. I was last there in 1990 after the large fires, so it mostly scorched.

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    • That is terrible!! Why don’t people use common sense? I wish “the perfect selfie” wasn’t so important in our culture.

      Another thing that blew me away is how few people actually get off the road and hike the trails. I hiked two during the middle of the day and there were people everywhere…except for the trails.

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  4. Ah, Briana your post left me shaking my head as I read how much FUN you are having. I am glad to hear that you are taking the safety suggestions seriously, someone cared enough to post them. Do you think you will be able to exist in Martinsburg/Lowville after seeing so many interesting places and people and animals. God bless you and take care of you. Enjoy

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    • That is a very good question and I don’t really know the answer myself yet-seeing new places and having exciting adventures every day is so much fun! But Lewis County is my home and I love my family and friends very much and I miss my two little puppies a lot!!

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  5. I checked with maps of googleness, still 2 weeks from Astoria… And i don’t know if you knew this… but when the big one erupts, it’s Yellowstone that is going to cook off, fill the atmosphere with ash and begin the next Ice age.

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  6. Maybe you can start a new trend and cycle the geothermal hot spots of the World? Rotorua in New Zealand is similar but on a smaller scale than Yellowstone and quieter too. Perhaps seeing the opposite side where tectonic plates are creating new land rather than destruction might be more your thing? Mind you it wouldn’t take long to cycle the Hawaiin Islands or Iceland!

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  7. What an awesome trip you are having! But us here in Croghan are wondering when we will see you again?? Need to do new schedule for August – what are your plans?

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