Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yellowstone Groupies

 Most travel bloggers who go through Yellowstone would likely write about the wolves they saw (which we did), the Grizzlies (ours was a sow with two cubs) and the geysers shooting their geothermal steam and minerals into rainbows of sulfur painted landscapes. 

We were fascinated by not only all of those sights, but of the sights and sounds of the Yellowstone Groupies.  Yellowstone  Groupies can be easily identified by their clustering around spotting scopes (much like Jess does), wielding walkie-talkies and  reporting the positions of the wolves, grizzlies, or the timing of geyser eruptions (Jess had talked them out of the frequencies for everything in the park, including the research plane (140.500), within 60 minutes of crossing into the Groupies' territories), and wearing flopping nylon shirts, hats, and pants (which made Sally able to infiltrate them with perfect ease).

They are a culture of people that follow the researchers and rangers with adoration and the secret pleasure of inside knowledge that they dole out to novice park goers with an air of expertise only typically found in front of a lectern or from politicians during re-election campaigns.

We were fascinated by them and studied them through the day as the animals scampered around us and the geysers blew.  With certainty, there is a master’s study in anthropology waiting for the right student of human behavior.

We left the park watching as rangers used bullhorns and threats of arrest to warn away a pack of photographer/tourists circling a herd of elk with five babies bedded down in a median in the middle of the bustling community of Mammoth Hot Springs.  We found ourselves thinking about what is “wild” and “untamed” and realizing it is the people rather than the patient animals of Yellowstone National Park.

Posted from Spokane, Washington

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