Over the last few weeks there have been several stories about injuries and deaths caused by ignoring the rules in Yellowstone National Park. Here a good example from The Billings Gazette. The coverage reminded me that I have posted several stories about tourists’ encounters with hot springs and geysers. I decided to reprise some of them.
- N. P. Langford, “Gathering a Specimen From a Boiling Spring — 1870.” A famous explorer risks his life crawling on the thin crust surrounding a hot spring.
- John W. Barlow, “Finding a Goldilocks Pool at Mammoth Hot Springs — 1871.” A surveyor samples several terrace pools to bathe in one that’s just right, just right, just right.
- Henry “Bird” Calfee, “Saving a Scalded Man — c. 1872.” When a man tries to save a deer in a geyser, he falls in, and his partner has to figure out how to get him home.
- Frank Carpenter, “Angering Old Faithful — 1877.” A tourist dumps rubble into the famous geyser just to see what will happen the next time it erupts.
- Georgina Synge, “Soaping Beehive Geyser to Make It Play — 1892.” Tourists steal bars soap from their hotel and sneak out on a moonlit night hoping to force a geyser to play. (It doesn’t work.)
- R. Maury, “Nights of Romance in Yellowstone Park — 1919.” Pop Slocum risks a tumble into a hot spring so Winsted Trip can meet the woman of his dreams.
A couple of important points about these stories: First, they are survivors’s stories. Dead men tell no tales. Second, they are from different times. Today we know better than to do the things described. When you visit Yellowstone Park, you should obey all the rules. The Park Service has posted a nice summary of them and some good advice.
I hope you enjoyed these stories. If you did, you can look for others on this blog. Even better, buy my books:
- Adventures in Yellowstone: Early Travelers Tell Their Tales. — A dozen classic tales in the words of the people lived the adventures including: Mountain Man Osborne Russell’s tales of tangling with Indians and seeing geysers for the first time; N.P. Langford’s diary of the expedition that first brought Yellowstone’s wonders to public attention, and Emma Cowan’s chilling account of being taken captive by Indians.
- The Stories of Yellowstone: Adventure Tales From the World’s First National Park.— Seventy-two short stories suitable for quick reading by the evening campfire. Everything from Jim Bridger’s early descriptions of Yellowstone’s wonders, to being treed by a lion, to feeding bears (don’t do it).
- Macon’s Perfect Shot: A Yellowstone Adventure. — A mid-grades novel about a 14-year-old boy’s adventures in the Park in the 1870s. Macon has to grow up fast when his partner falls into a geyer, and he has to get the scalded man home.
I hope you enjoy reading early traveler’s adventures in the world’s first national park. Learning more about it’s history will enhance your enjoyment when you visit there.