Product Testing in West Yellowstone

Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park; NPS Photo

Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park; NPS Photo

You'll have to excuse the somewhat reduced rate of posts for the next few days. Not only is it a holiday weekend, of sorts, but I'm off product testing in Yellowstone.

But I am happy to see the readership is up in arms -- pro and con -- over the free-market approach to selling campsites in Yosemite. Definitely some interesting debate out there.

Here in West Yellowstone, things are unseasonably hot -- daytime highs in the mid- to upper 80s -- and dry. Very dry. We're heading off into the park today, showing the landscape to someone who has never visited Yellowstone.

If you've never been to West Yellowstone, it's quite the place. Once small and charming, it's now going through a growth spurt of sorts with hotels on the rise. Still, it's not too big that it's lost it's flavor, thankfully.

After I return I'll bring you up to date on the town and, hopefully, include some pictures to give those who have never been here a better idea of what it's like and to show those who have been here, but not recently, how it's changed.

Comments

I think the Bookworm is the world's best bookstore, and it's in West Yellowstone. Get some good ones. And, I love the Playmill.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

Anyone care to give tips on travelling to Yellowstone with a child in a wheelchair? This is our first trip there. I would greatly appreciate any tips on how to make this more enjoyable for the whole family. My son is 6. TY

That's a fantastic question. Off the top of my head, Yellowstone is a huge park, and so you'll be in your car so much of the time. In the geyser areas, there are very accessible boardwalks, which are perfect for wheelchairs, especially in the Old Faithful area. In some areas, however, I think that they won't be as accessible - for instance in Mammoth Hot Springs, which is more vertical and at the Mud Volcano area. At Mammoth, there's a lot, though that can be seen without climbing all the boardwalks.

In the Canyon area, most of the approaches unfortunately have staircases of one kind or another. I'm wracking my brain for an overlook that doesn't involve some kind of stairs. There's also construction in the area.

There are a lot of pullouts to stop and see scenery.

As far as hotels, if that's where you are staying, I'm not sure. You should talk with the people you made reservations with. They also control many of the restaurants and can talk with you about that.

Obviously, backcountry hiking is pretty much out of the question. There are no paved trails in backcountry. The closest you can get are the Lone Star geyser trail, which is mostly an old road (bikes are allowed on this trail) and along the old fountain flats drive, but I wouldn't recommend either. However, Yellowstone is definitely big enough to enjoy in a wheelchair, even if it's so big and so complicated that it's a sad truth that a person in a wheelchair won't be able to go up a mountain (though the Beartooth Highway just outside of Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance can allow for the same experience), won't be able to hike out to backcountry lakes and thermals, and in some cases won't be able to get close to some otherwise accessible features. However, there are still plenty of amazing spots, whether it's the overlooks of Yellowstone Lake, the geyser fields near Old Faithful, or viewing wildlife in the Lamar Valley. I'm going to try and take some time to look at this a little more and report a little more information.

I've thought about this some; I think even a blind person could enjoy Yellowstone if only because the sounds, textures, and smells are so unique. Some hate the sulfur smells, but I think they are wondrous and unusual. I get nostalgic for those smells in my sleep. It's a feast of at least four of the five senses (I can't say I ate that well there), and I hope you'll have a great trip and that your child will love this magical place.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

Jim (and everyone), don't some of the parks have those fat-tire wheelchairs available for people to get a little off the boardwalks every once in a while? My remembrance of Yellowstone was that the boardwalk trailed areas were enough to keep most people busy, interested, and fascinated, but if you wanted to roam elsewhere, contact the visitor center(s) or the West Park Medical Services and see what they've got. If they have any at all it won't be many, and you'll want to reserve in advance if they allow you to.

Here's a great NPS link that will give you official park info on accessibility:
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkwide-access.htm

Have fun! I'll be there in late August with my son.

-- Jon Merryman

Are you product testing Mosquito Repellent? The skeeters at Shoshone Lake miss you and would like more fresh blood.