YELLOWSTONE: A 2-part Story
While Yellowstone National Park gets no points with me, I loved the area and the little town of West Yellowstone, MT where I spent most of my time.
I enjoyed doing nothing my first day at Hebgen Lake then headed out early for Yellowstone NP the next morning. Let me interject --- my 1st two nights in the tent, it was 34 degrees! and my camp site just had vault toilets & potable water. Back to nature, baby, after being spoiled just a bit these past few weeks.
While I saw some amazing sites (see photos!) in my 6 hours at Yellowstone NP, it was not an enjoyable park experience. I didn't see the Grand Prismatic Spring because I gave up after circling the parking lot 3 times looking for a spot. The mobs at the Visitor's Center near Old Faithful were painful, and I almost had to slap a surly ranger from Jersey. On my way out that first day, traffic was backed up for as far as I could see in both directions. Why? Because tourists didn't pull over; they simply stopped the car to take a photo from the window. This is the NP of yahoos!
I knew that I would only see a small speck of Yellowstone NP (it's 3500 sq miles) but I never imagined how poorly managed the park is or how out-of-control the tourist situation would be. There are no shuttles, no bike lanes, and limited hiking (many trails were closed). If you love driving hundreds of miles; sitting in traffic; circling for parking spaces; and interfacing with hordes of ornery tourists, you'll love this park! I did just read that visitation was up 24% this year.
I did see some geologic wonders and bison were everywhere but this was no outdoor experience after what I have enjoyed in the past month. I tried to go into the park 2 days later and after moving 1.2 miles in 35 minutes, I simply turned around (road work that day).
Ignoring the park scenario, I was easily entertained in West Yellowstone, MT which reminded me of small towns in Alaska. It's kept its charm and personality intact, and the people love to share conversation.
6/22/2015 01:54:27 pm
Hey, Judy. Good to hear from you. This is a first that your posting is a bit of a yawn. I do like the "bobby socks" trees, though. I think that Jellystone may have been the better choice. Song: "Won't get fooled again." Safe travels to Columbia River Gorge.
6/23/2015 06:11:37 am
AMG! Are you saying I'm boring you? Just reporting the facts, ma'am! Leave for the Gorge early Thursday & lunch w/Eric on Friday in Hood River. Look forward to revisiting some hiking trails but temps going to 100+! j.
6/24/2015 02:05:49 am
Cool pictures! Nice you kept the hordes of people out of the frame. Stay away from the bears! and tourists ...
6/24/2015 11:36:40 am
Fred --- indeed, I had to shove a few kids & old ladies to get these shots but it was all worth it :). Good to hear from you; will write soon!
6/25/2015 04:21:23 pm
NEVER visit Yellowstone when school's out. It's actually deserted and quite nice in October.
6/26/2015 12:31:51 pm
Gary ... wasn't in any way impressed with this park! Boring, redundant terrain; little water; lots of driving to stare at animals & holes in the ground. Off the list!!! Way too much else to see on the planet! :)
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Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover