Sunday, July 22, 2007

Yellowstone on a weekend in July

Anyone remotely familiar with American geography may have guessed that my next stop after Butte would be Yellowstone.
First stop was Old Faithful, naturally.

Yellowstone is home to two thirds of the world's geysers, and Old Faithful is known to be the most consistent, blowing every half hour to two hours for a minute or so at a time. The park rangers are able to predict each eruption to within ten minutes, and a thousand or so people turn out on busy days to watch them.

It's easy to think of Yellowstone as a place infested with tourists, choking away the wildlife and ruining any hope for an escape from modern life. This is the lazy man's attitude. The trick to enjoying a place as heavily visited as Yellowstone is to leave the damn car. I know that sounds obvious, but it's amazing how few people take advantage of it.

After sleeping in my car last night in a picnic area (totally illegal but totally worth the solitude and view of the stars), I drove out to the Cascade Lake trailhead. For an hour I experienced tourbuses, traffic jams every time a bison or elk got near the road, and just general human ugliness. The moment I stepped onto the 2.5 mile trail to the lake, however, the world opened up. I spent the afternoon at Cascade Lake with about ten other people. No one else could be bothered to make the trek.

The place was so still I could easily hear the conversation of two fisherman all the way across the lake. They sounded kind of like sports commentators.

"Great day for fishing, right Dave?"

"You said it, Bob."

"Wind's really died down, huh?"

"That's right Bob."

It's funny how I complain about how lazy people are, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Just like the Grand Canyon, more room for me.


48statebus said...

Everything you wrote seems pretty indicative of Yellowstone, it is "the" national park and therefore it gets a LARGE number of visitors but if you find a trail to hike apparently you can get away from all of them.

Are you swimming in that picture you posted? If you are you are a brave man, that water had to be COLD! brrrrr.....

Ezra said...

That water looks NICE!

Scotticus said...

The water wasn't too bad. the air temp was mid 80' so I dried off pretty quickly too.