If you’re dumb, there are lots of good ways to have a bad time at a national park

By John Kelly, The Washington Post

Frankly, I’m amazed anyone gets out of Yellowstone alive. The national park was the place readers mentioned most often when I invited them to share unsafe tourist behavior they’ve observed.

Bridget Collins went to Yellowstone in 2002. Like every visitor, she was handed a packet of information when she arrived. On top was a bright orange sheet of paper that read in large type: “THE BISON ARE NOT TAME.”

The warning made it clear that any contact with bison was forbidden and laid out every “stupid thing you could imagine some idiot trying to do with a wild animal,” Bridget wrote, from feeding it to riding it.

Wrote Collins, of Kensington, Maryland: “I am following another car and we drive further on. [The driver] stops, jumps out of his car, runs across the road and proceeds to take several photos of the sleeping bison on the side of the road. He was three feet away at most.

“I told the ranger later that if the bison had attacked him, I wanted to testify on behalf of the bison.”

That man was more fortunate than the teenager Jerry and Michele Sikora of Gaithersburg, Maryland, saw on their visit to Yellowstone. He’d been attacked by a bison after jumping over a fence to pet it.

“The bison gored him and threw him up in the air and he landed on the paved path,” Jerry Sikora wrote. “Luckily a nurse was there to help stop the bleeding.”

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A reader from San Diego named Nancy was at the park in the 1990s, sitting on a boulder above the meadow, enjoying the scenery, if not the sight of a family advancing on a herd of elk for a close-up with their video camera.

“I hear a scream, I look down and see a bull elk with a camcorder hooked on his splendid rack, as he charged the tourists and chased them across the meadow,” Nancy wrote. “I felt bad for the animal. I can’t imagine having a ’90s-era camcorder smacking him in the head was very pleasant.”

If the bison and elk don’t get you, Yellowstone’s geysers might. Thomas Leo Briggs of Rockville, Maryland, watched as a woman stepped off the boardwalk to pose on the steaming ground for a photo.

RELATED: Noisy Yellowstone geyser roars back to life after 3 years

“She was on a crust covering the hot springs below her,” he wrote. …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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