Sadly though, I have still not gone there for recreational purposes. The only time I get to go to the park is when I am driving through.
Last week was another drive-thru trip on my way to central Wyoming. It's a picturesque and tranquil drive, unless of course, you run into tourists.
And being the middle of July, I ran into tourists.
A lot of them.
EVERYBODY stops to see. Some pull over. Some don't. Regardless, everyone stops and the streets are now gummed up.
About 1/3 into my drive, a family of elk appeared between the road and the river, about 30 feet from the pavement. People slammed on their brakes, and traffic both ways came to a screeching halt. I was stuck.
Families get out of their cars to take pictures. One man decides to get into the shot, and tries to get as close to the wildlife as possible. He's inching closer and closer, telling his wife to take the shot.
Mama elk is getting agitated, but wifey has an idea to calm it down. In a shrill Wisconsin accent, she yells "SEE IF IT WANTS A CHEETO!"
Firstly, why the fuck would it want a Cheeto?? Secondly, didn't you see the millions of signs posted, telling you not to feed the wildlife??
Living in this area, I see a lot of nature. It's beautiful, but I'm not one to fuck with other people's schedules just to get a good photo. Finally a space opened up and I was on my way, slightly angrier and running a little late, but on my way nonetheless.
An hour later, traffic starts to slow again. Since it's only one side (my side) I assume there's an animal in the road blocking traffic in the opposite direction.
...the person in front of me starts chatting with the lead car behind the bison. "So, heh, how long have you been trailing this thing?"
They keep chatting, and I'm getting more and more frustrated. Finally I lean out of my car and mimic the Wisconsin bitch as best as I could.
"SEE IF IT WANTS A CHEETO!"
I even properly pronounced it "cheee-dough" like she did. The guy in front of me turned around to glare at me, and had this exact reaction:
...and promptly moved on.
I love Yellowstone. I love the wildlife, and the mixed smell of trees/wildflowers/water/wildlife/fresh air that stays with you all through the park (unless you're near the sulfur springs...). It smells like tranquility. It smells like peace.
But seriously, can the tourists have a little more common sense and respect for others? I have a job to do, and some of us are just trying to drive through!
But I have to admit, the next time I see an animal in the wild, I'm going to think about Cheetos and smile a little...