24 August 2015

On Mr. Spud, Geysers, and Summer Tourist Season

Me and Mr. Spud

As a part of our faux Parents Weekend, we were determined to get reacquainted with the area in which CAL has been living. This meant road trips to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park.

In the winter, Jackson Hole is a Mecca for skiers. In the summer, it is a Mecca for tourists (more on them later) looking for deals on bad Western art, cheesy Western-themed outerwear, and crappy t-shirts. Once you step away from the throngs and look up at the mountains that surround the town, their beauty reminds you to slow down and take it in. In spite of the fact that much of the view was hampered by haze from the forest fires in neighboring states, it was easy to take in the beauty of the area.

With 'Take it in' as our theme, I did something I rarely do - pulled over to take a photo of something sublime in its ridiculousness. When you blow by an enormous potato on the bed of an old pickup being 'driven' by a couple of smaller potatoes, of course you pull over. Hence, my photo with Mr. Spud at the finest drive-in movie theater in all of Driggs, ID. Awesome!

While Jackson Hole and its environs were beautiful, they paled in comparison to Yellowstone National Park. Words can't describe the stark beauty and awe-inspiring wonder of this place. The earth simply does not fool around here. The hot pots, the falls, and the geysers were each a testament to the beauty of this earth. 

Now, while the Old Faithful geyser was cool, it proved, much like creepy Josh Duggar to be less than faithful. The geyser  was 45 minutes late to its scheduled 'eruption.' The better geyser was the Beehive, just across the way from Old Faithful. It erupted like the angriest bidet on the planet. My favorite geyser, though, was the Spasm Geyser. Not because it's eruption was the most spectacular, but because of its name. Seriously, the Spasm Geyser is the best name ever. To top the Spasm, we took an easy 5.2 mile hike to Fairy Falls. It was worth the chafing I'm dealing with now...

Here's a collection of photos from Yellowstone:
Suffice to say, it was amazing. This earth, this incredible creation, is a gift.

Based on the hordes of tourists at both Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, lots of people are wanting to see this all too. Some observations:

When pretty much every store in Jackson Hole now accepts China Union Pay, you know the Chinese tourism moment is far from over.

When the Eastern European girl working in one of the stores is driven to near tears by yet another Chinese tourist cutting the line, you simply smile, and tell her, "Honey, it's only going to get worse."

Why do Europeans insist on wearing  winter coats as they trudge through a national park on a warm summer's day?

The National Park Service would be wise to ban the scourge that is the selfie stick.

And, finally, lest anyone think the bus tour is dead, it is not. However, based on the average age of their participants, it is not long for this earth. The location of the nearest bathroom should not be the key topic of discussion in a stunning national park.

That said, I'm glad I could share the beauty of this earth with CAL and the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. It's been great. I like this DIY Parents Weekend thing.

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