Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Bear On My Car In Yellowstone National Park

That is a Yellowstone National Park bear talking to me through the window of my antique 1965 Mustang Fastback.

As you can see, this bear has stopped traffic.

When I was a kid, me and my siblings had to prove we could behave on lesser summer vacations, working our way up to going to Yellowstone when I was, I think, maybe 12 years old.

Yellowstone went well, so the next year we got to go to Disneyland and California for the first time.

On our first trip to Yellowstone we kept a tally of the animals we saw. If I remember right the bear total was over 30.

At some point in time Yellowstone changed how it managed the bears, so, nowadays, bear sightings are rare.

I remember camping at the Old Faithful Campground, suddenly we heard our mom screaming, standing on top of the picnic table. Because a big bear was lumbering through the camp, looking for food. I can remember this as if it were yesterday.

It was the weeks before my last year of college that I took myself to Yellowstone for the first time. Which is when the bear visited me in my Mustang.

That Roadtrip to Yellowstone had no particular destination. I remember hiking into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and remarking that this is one really grand canyon, let's go see the other Grand Canyon.

And so that Roadtrip headed south from Yellowstone, dropping in on Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park on the way to Grand Canyon. At that point in time I knew nothing about Bryce Canyon or Zion. They were a scenic revelation to me, the likes of which I did not know existed.

I have digressed away from Yellowstone. Yellowstone is big. On the first visit there were several surprises. One being how extensive the highway system is, complete with cloverleaf overpasses. And that there are several geyser basins, all with boardwalks.

I remember in one of the basins seeing a crowd gathered. A geyser was about to erupt that only did so every few weeks. Suddenly the water drained and then it erupted. People fled the blast of steam.

Yellowstone is heavily developed. The Old Faithful area is like a little town. But, you can easily get away from civilization.

I'm hoping a return Roadtrip to Yellowstone is in my near future.

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