Yellowstone Diaries: Escaping the Waddle Zone

I sense interest in our dumb trip waning, so this will be my final vacation blog. Probably.

 Crowds waiting for Old Faithful

Crowds waiting for Old Faithful

That first day, we realized that we were not the only couple of a certain age and hair color to have the brilliant idea of postponing our Yellowstone trip until after school started. Visiting the park in September may have lessened the amount of children in the park, but it did not lessen the amount of bodies. The hotels and campgrounds were all full. But instead of getting run over by rampaging packs of children, we were slowed to a crawl by large waddling Americans and large busloads of tourists from all over the world. Sadly, you didn't have to listen for an accent to guess whether a tourist was from the U.S. You just had the check the boardwalk for sag. We Americans are obviously all doing our part to prop up the high fructose corn syrup industry.

 The view while hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The view while hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Walking around in one of the most tourist infested parts of the park, I can't help wondering what our evil overlords look like. The ones who are so obviously fattening us all up for slaughter and rendering. Because we, as a nation, are ripe. 

 328 stairs to a viewpoint: another way to escape the Waddle Zone

328 stairs to a viewpoint: another way to escape the Waddle Zone

Which reminds me that High Fructose Corn Syrup would be a good name for an indie band. 

 Swimming in the Firehole River swimming hole. There were maybe a dozen other people here.

Swimming in the Firehole River swimming hole. There were maybe a dozen other people here.

Did you know we all evolved from apes who have a gene mutation that makes us not only crave sweets like high fructose corn syrup, but sends that fructose directly to our liver to be turned into triglycerides, a form of fat?

 This lady had the same idea (not at the same time or place).

This lady had the same idea (not at the same time or place).

Another thing I realised while dodging  herds of single-minded photo-oppers, is that you can abbreviate many things, like "sitch" for "situation" or "skedge" for "schedule," but you can't really abbreviate "Japanese" without sounding like a terrible person. 

 Crowds. Of bison.

Crowds. Of bison.

Whoops, took an abbreviated detour. Back to the hordes. The Lonely Planet guide to the park (which we thumbed and dog-eared throughout our stay) noted that the park was over-loved, but that only 10% of visitors step off the road or boardwalks (what I termed the "Waddle Zone") and only a half of those venture more than a mile.  We found this to be mercifully true, as my mood is precarious in large crowds. We took some great short hikes (Drew may quibble with the usage of the word "short"), and really got to see nature at its best. And didn't get mauled by bears once.

 Bison each taking their turn annoying cars by standing in the road and pretending they don't get it in the Lamar Valley.

Bison each taking their turn annoying cars by standing in the road and pretending they don't get it in the Lamar Valley.

Our Recommendations on Yellowstone National Park enjoyment:  

  • Waddle Zone: avoid it.
  • West Yellowstone Museum: Lovely building with nothing inside worth the admission fee.  
  • Lonely Planet: use it.  
  • Xanterra: sucking money out of our national parks with a hose.
  • Lamar Valley: park your car, walk in any direction, and sit down. The wildlife will ignore you and go about their business.
  • Bison: hilarious.  
 Lamar Valley at sunset

Lamar Valley at sunset