Yellowstone Part 1: Ambition
It’s been a whirlwind of a week here at Tyranny of Pants headquarters, and I was on the road for much of it. As you may surmise from the comic, I visited Yellowstone National Park with my wife’s family, and it’s true: we budgeted one day for the expedition. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to have visited the caldera on several previous occasions, so a one-day speed visit wasn’t my only glimpse into the park. We even visited a few areas I hadn’t really explored before, so that was nice.
If you have the option, though, you should really plan to spend at least a couple days visiting. Firstly, many people underestimate both the size of the park, and the speed with which you can cross it. The fastest you can legally drive is 45 mph, and the roads are fairly wiggly, so you’re probably looking at a two hour journey from east border to west border, assuming no stops or “look-there’s-an-elk” traffic jams.
Second, there’s a lot to see! Sure, there’s the planned, reliable things, like the visitor centers and “showcase” features like Old Faithful and the, uh, “Famous Yellowstone Falls” (despite it’s iconic-ness, I don’t recall it’s specific name, and the park has a few waterfalls), but you should allow time for happenstance too. Perhaps you’ll have opportunity to view bison (from a safe distance) as they loiter about a geyser, contemplating life. Maybe you’ll want to hike to a higher vantage point, or take photos of a golden-mantled ground squirrel that really, really wants you to give it a granola bar.
Anyway, I guess it all comes down to this: don’t forget to slow down and take some time to stop and smell the sulfurous waters of a superheated pool of archaea.