Western Trip: Yellowstone

Abby at pull out by Yellowstone Lake
Abby at pull out by Yellowstone Lake

We had the pleasure of traveling through Yellowstone on the Fourth of July weekend, 2o15. This was one of the most disappointing stops of the trip. Being a holiday weekend, the park was extremely crowded. We would visit Yellowstone again, but during the shoulder season when crowds would be less teeming.

We had a reservation for a single night, July 3, at the Bridge Bay campground. This campground is essentially and open field with tightly spaced spots and no hook-ups. Most spots are relatively level. Firewood was available for purchase at check-in. As state in our summary post, the bathrooms were atrocious. Overall, the vendor running the campgrounds and amenities was less than impressive.

Sign at Dragon’s Mouth Spring

Perhaps the single most frustrating things were the tourists. What do we mean by tourists? People who ignore the signs and rules stated to protect them (selfies with bison, straying from boardwalks around the hot springs) and generally oblivious behavior. A prime example, we

stopped to stopped at Dragon’s Mouth Spring as we were driving across the park. There was a bison laying next to the restroom building. People were walking within feet of the animal to take a selfie. The bison eventually had enough of the paparazzi, got up, and ran through the parking lot. The panic was capped by a woman screaming (imagine this in a New Jersey accent), ‘Larry, LAARRRYYY!! The bison! Look out for the bison!!”.  Larry, clearly no where near the bison’s path of travel, waved at his hysterical wife. Panicking and further startling a wild animal, not the wisest plan.

Bison at Dragon's Mouth Spring, taken from an elevated board walk.
Bison at Dragon’s Mouth Spring, taken from an elevated board walk.

Traveling across the park was also slow going. The speed limit is 35 and in some of the more popular areas it drops to 25 mph. This is made even worse by the people ignoring posted signs and stopping in the middle of the road (rather than pulling off on a pull out as advised) to take a picture of some animal that caught their attention. Again, a fantastic example of oblivious tourist behavior.

Alex enjoying his VIP tour of Yellowstone.
Alex enjoying his VIP tour of Yellowstone.
Waterfall in Yellowstone.
Waterfall in Yellowstone.

The negatives were frustrating and took away from the beauty of Yellowstone. There were some very nice handicap accessible paths to a variety of features that we were able to take Alex to in either his wagon or stroller. As with most national parks, dogs were not allowed on trails. Which is frustrating and limits what we can see. However, these are limitations we accept when traveling with Penny, Chewie, and Buster. And seeing how most people can’t follow simple rules, allowing dogs on trails would be an utter disaster.

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