If you’ve been with me the past couple of posts, you know we just wrapped up our Epic Family Summer Road Trip. At one point we took a shuttle boat across a lake and a short, guided hike up a mountain to see a secluded waterfall. The scenery took my breath away, but something else also caught my attention.
Along for the hike was a family with three little girls. They were well behaved, but also talkative and precocious. There was little whining but lots of activity.
They reminded me of when our family was younger. Our boys would have charged up the trail, all arms and legs and loud voices. If we were lucky, they’d maintain their enthusiasm long enough to complete our hike without complaint. Their dad and I would have been on constantly our guard lest someone shove his brother into a stream, or a bug into his mouth, wander off the path, or collect handfuls of rocks to be found later, rattling in the dryer. We would have fielded endless questions, stepped off the trail repeatedly to root around in a backpack for snacks, reminded people to keep hats on, hands to themselves, voices down.
If you’re just joining us, this is the third installment in our somewhat-epic summer journey to Yellowstone, in which I
fervently hope we have a bear encounter that ends up well enough for us as well as the bear and whatever we happen to be driving. You can start here, and the whole set up to this trip is here and here.
People told us we were smart to come through Yellowstone this early in the season. We’d avoid the crowds, they said.
Good thing, too, because it doesn’t feel a lot like Yellowstone planned for crowds when things like roads and restrooms and pull-offs were installed back in the day. It really doesn’t feel like anybody anticipated busloads of Japanese tourists, when installing mountain roads with exactly zero shoulder on which to pull over and observe the wildlife, I must say.
If you’re just joining us, this is the second installment in our somewhat-epic summer journey to Yellowstone, in which I fervently hope we have a bear encounter that ends up well enough for us as well as the bear and whatever we happen to be driving. You can binge-read the whole series here.
We were discussing bear encounter survival techniques on the way out of town this morning and realized we’re all a little confused about how one is supposed to react when running into a bear. One site recommends stopping whatever it is you’re doing to assess the situation, and then identifying yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone.
We’re going to be schlepping the family to Yellowstone this summer, and as you can probably guess, I’m just beside myself with ambivalence.
It’s time, though. On average, about three out of four exchange students will ask to see Yellowstone, and we haven’t even taken our own kids to see this American family vacation icon. I’ve always insisted it’s too far, too expensive. And who wants to sit in a hot car stuffed with crabby kids, driving through a big expanse of nothing on the off chance you’ll see a buffalo in the distance?
I mean, we got all kinds of scenery – trees and everything – right here. And a city zoo. I don’t know if they have buffalo, but I’m sure they have goats and stuff. And guess what? There’s concessions. And no drive. Bam.