Fun in Our National Parks
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 96 11:54:06 -0700
Subject: Fun in Our National Parks
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Like Bill, I think that people tend to forget that wild animals are wild,
even if they aren't afraid of humans.
Things I have personally witnessed chronological adults doing in Yellowstone
as a child include:
The fellow in the VW bug who honked at the Bison who was meandering through
traffic and annoying him personally. The Bison first shook his head at it,
then bumped it a bit, then rolled on it a bit, then sat on it. Or what was
left of it. Shaken driver was cited by the Rangers.
The couple who insisted that feeding the bear cubs cookies from the car
wasn't dangerous. Until the cookies ran out and the sow attracted to
plaintive pleas for more smashed every window in the car and chased the
man's pregnant wife up a tree. They too were cited.
The Grizzly that went after the man who had been using a slingshot to
"kindly" toss caramel candy apples out for them. Forgot to remove the
sticks. One took a stick up the nose rather amiss. The cabin door didn't
look quite so secure laying in the parking lot as it had on the door frame.
Man was cited.
The woman who insisted that she could tame any animal trying to feed a moose
cow and her calf waist deep in water. She fell, the cow spooked and she
was trampled (thanks to being underwater, she survived, but was stunned and
needed minor first aid). She was escorted from the park.
The banker fishing who insisted the brown bear *didn't* want the trout he
was hauling in. The bear had other ideas and a fishing pole to the snout
didn't help matters. After the Ranger had rescued him by blaring on an air
horn, the man was annoyed that the Park Service wasn't going to replace the
pole and buy him a trout dinner to replace the one that was lost. He too
was cited, yelling about lawyers the whole time (My attorney father walked
up to the Ranger and offered to represent him if the fellow did get stupid,
which at least lowered the volume of the discussion so we could go back to
The flower children having a midnight soak in a hot springs that decided
they didn't need to leave when the raccoons showed up. 'Coon bites are
nasty, and they didn't want to share the hot tub with humans. They were
cited for damaging the fragile ecology by using the hot springs, the coons
were not chased down as rabid as they had requested.
The wild elk that stampeded over the top of a hay bale elk blind set up by
several photographers. Seems a cow spooked when she began tugging a bit
too hard on a bale and it was tugged back into position by the photographer.
The woman who insisted that climbing the tree with the cougar in it was
going to be just fine for getting close-ups. Fortunately, she decided the
snarls weren't just playful before she got within reach of the paws. She
thought the citation was overkill.
When I made a trip to Yosemite with other Girl Scout camp leaders at the
end of the summer:
We forgot to take the peanut butter and cookies out of the trunk before we
headed out into the back country. We came back to a car on its side, four
shredded tires, no glass in any of the windows, a trunk that had been pried
open and a 'possom mother who didn't want to leave the trunk so we could
have it towed out of there.
While we were at the Ranger station filling out the forms to report it to
the insurance company, a lovely young woman in Yosemite decided that riding
a bear in the nude would be fun for the bear. She managed to get a good
seat before the bear decided this human with the honey comb was strange and
tried to rub her off on nearby trees, rocks, cliffs. Someone down at the
base of the cliff realized what was going on above and called the rangers.
They arrived in the helicopter 20 minutes later to find a thoroughly upset
bear and a woman who was too frozen with fright to let go. The tranquilizer
dart missed the bear, but at least she was relaxed enough to slip off before
she was killed. She was cited in the hospital bed.
While waiting for the new set of tires to be mounted on the car, a man in
the campground tried to tease a bear with peanut butter and apple slices.
Holding out a plate, then yanking it back. Bear tolerated it as a game for
three times. At the fourth, she knocked the man over the picnic table and
sat on him while she munched on the slices. When he tried to hit her to
get her to move off, she casually took a swipe at him. He played dead, she
finished the apple slices and we helped get him a ride to the infirmary.
We decided people in California weren't as strange as those in Wyoming, but
it was a close second.
© 1996 Peter Langston