Moose are gross. Sorry, moose, it’s the truth, and I’m pointing it out in case these fine people have never seen one of your disgusting hides in the wild before. Folks, if you visit Grand Teton National Park, you’ll probably spot a gross moose, and, if you’re like me, among your first thoughts will be “Ew.” They look like someone has been smearing lard on them.
Who is smearing lard on these dang moose? The world may never know.
Now that I think of it, I had similar “Ew” thoughts the first time I laid eyeballs on a real, live bison in Yellowstone. I mean, look at this thing. What does it have, the mange? Bison baldness?
Gross appearances aside, my girlfriend and I were enjoying the chance to experience wildlife as we drove through Yellowstone. We were heading from the Tetons where we spent the previous evening, on our way to our lodging for the night.
We’d intended to camp in our tent for much of the trip, only staying in hotels three nights over eight days, but after one night on the ground I’d had enough. I’d just spent two weeks in the Andes four months previous. Most of that time was spent lying in a tent with horrible mountain sickness. The mountain sickness subsided, but the tent sickness remained.
Since it was my idea to stay in the tent on our trip, though, I had to find a tactful way to bring up the possibility of booking a hotel room instead. I wanted to broach the subject without my girlfriend thinking I am a certified city-fied tenderfoot softie from planet Wuss, even if it is absolutely the case. To accomplish this, I chose the time-honored method of pretending it was her who was uncomfortable.
I pointed out that she had mentioned being cold during the night, and wouldn’t she maybe like to stay in a hotel instead of the tent. After all, we had an idea that it would still be chilly in that area in June, but as Atlantans we didn’t fully appreciate how chilly it would be. Eventually, though, I just came clean and admitted I wanted to sleep in a bed. She said she’d be happy either way. Score.
We ended up in a nice room near Yellowstone Lake, which meant we got to take a walk along the lake as the sun went down.
In the morning, we headed out toward Old Faithful, which was among the big ticket items I wanted to lay eyes on while out West. I’ve heard about Old Faithful all my life, and I just couldn’t wait to see it. The thought of a hole in the ground that regularly barfs thousands of gallons of water just fills my heart with glee for some reason.
There’s plenty to see in the area, as well. When we parked, Old Faithful was getting close to its estimated waterbarfing time, so we strolled around and took in the other geysers for a bit, then returned to see Old Faithful blow H2O like a freshman.
We chose our spot poorly, however, on the western side of the walkway that surrounds it. I say poorly because the wind was blowing straight at us that afternoon. Gawking at a giant column of water shooting into the sky when the wind is straight in your face guarantees you a similar result as peeing directly forward off the bow of a speedboat.
I didn’t get any good photos due to being directly in the blast.
After wiping the mist out of our eyes, we sauntered around a bit more, taking in all that Upper Geyser Basin had to offer, which was lots of geysers and a pervading sulfury smell. Some people complain about the smell, but I didn’t find it to be that bad. I produce far worse smells by eating grapes, or worse, raisins. Raisins are zombie grapes. It makes sense that they’d smell worse. That’s science.
There are signs all over the area warning that it is illegal to throw trash into the geysers. They also warn that visitors must stay on the walkway. Bison, however, are free to leave plops of waste wherever they like.
That makes perfect sense to me. If you weigh more than a ton, you get to go plops wherever you want. The heaviest human ever (Jon Brower Minnoch) only made it to about 1400lbs, so we aren’t there yet. Not by a long shot.
After the geysers, we visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I highly recommend giving it a look. It is a very beautiful place, with trails along the rim on either side, as well as trails down to lookout points in the canyon.
My favorite was Artist Point, a lookout so beautiful that it confuses normal tourists into believing they are photographers. There was even a gentleman there painting a view of the canyon, but he appeared to be an actual artist. He had an easel and everything.
Not to be out-artisted, I took a photo of the view with my cell phone, then immediately updated Facebook so that my friends and family could enjoy my trip as much as I was enjoying it.
After seeing the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, we’d hoped to get up at the crack of dawn the next day in hopes of seeing some wolves, but we had a lengthy drive up to Montana for the next leg of our trip, Glacier National Park!