Have you ever spent a whole night in the middle of a dense and wild forest? Well I have!
We stayed in the car throughout the night in the middle of the dense Subalpine Forests in Norris Geyser Basin area in Yellowstone which happens to be the heavenly habitat for ferocious animals like Bears, Wolves and Cougars. I have heard ample of times from various Wild life videos that most of the animals become hyperactive and hunt at night times. Having stamped that in our minds harder, we turned extra-cautious. We can’t make mistakes of even minimal degrees by getting down from the car and finally get dragged away by them. That would prove too costly and fatal. So we got in the car, didn’t drink water much to avoid any urge for urination in the times of deep darkness. This sort of endurance, I would call it as a well-blended mix of fear and excitement. That’s how I would define the term ‘Adventure’!
The Retired Lieutenant Colonel’s advice on Yellowstone
Prior heading for the Yellowstone trip, one of my close friends, my well-wisher, the neighbour and the Ret. Lieutenant Colonel Kim Zimmerman (U.S. Army) in Wamego (where I resided in Kansas for more than a year) kept reminded me about the stories of Bear inflicted fatalities (people who did camping in Yellowstone) and stories of some people attacked by Wolves as well. Besides he advised me to stay careful, have fun and get some nice pictures of Yellowstone.
To be honest, his stories added some extra spice to our trip to Yellowstone which makes it more exciting, thrilling and most of all – Adventurous! 🙂 It takes a non-stop 16 hour drive to Yellowstone National Park from the small town Wamego, Kansas. I have driven continuously, a couple of times for over 10 hours from Kansas to Tennessee and from Kansas to Colorado; my colleague, he can drive as well. And hence the 16 hour drive, didn’t look far for us. We did decide eventually to travel that far and experience that adventure in the vast wilderness of Yellowstone.
Also read: My blog post on – Stay Amazed and Overwhelmed with Nature’s Elegance of Yellowstone
Anticipated a Bear – To come and check on us!
Reached Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone around 7 pm after we were done with the magical landscapes of the Mammoth Hot Springs in the evening. Parked the car in the parking lot of Norris Area.
We are not supposed to park our vehicles in a parking lot throughout night anywhere in the Public Lands (National Parks) of America. That’s strictly prohibited. But you know what? We do that, all the time. 😉 😉 Park Rangers do come and check on vehicles, if any parked in the parking lot. But if we show signs of a deep sleep, they do torch and when they’re assured of a non-illegal parking, they would just leave. They were torching and I knew it must be a park ranger. We can’t go and search about a hotel room in the middle of night from the middle of the forest and hence we did pretend, as if we were in deep sleep. And the Ranger must have left subsequently.
Also read: My blog post on – Magical Landscapes of the Mammoth Hot Springs
We expected some Bear to come and check on our stay in the car sometime in the night. I think our car was pushed a bit couple of times by something from behind. But I was not sure about that, seriously. I asked my colleague about it in the morning. But he just said, “I don’t know!” We might had been checked out by a Bear. Who knows? We didn’t mind any and we just kept sleeping like we were in an AC hotel room, as those were the chill times of early spring in Yellowstone National Park.
How to stay away from Bears in Yellowstone.
You might not see a Bear in the wild and it may seem pretty safe but remember it might have already started watching you, even before you get in to such thoughts!
We were educated and warned by a Park Ranger at the Museum and Visitor Center (nearby Fishing Bridge RV Park and Lake Village of Yellowstone) on what to do? – If you encounter a Bear in the Yellowstone Wilderness. The Park Ranger gave a crisp and clear awareness talk on how to stay away from Bears and if at all you encounter one, how to combat it.
Bears doesn’t like noisy sounds and so do all animals, to be a matter of fact. If you want to stay away from Bears in the wild, pick a terrible song you don’t like and sing that on a high pitch or pick a song you like a lot and sing that in a terrible and louder voice 😉 Either way works good provided the sounds made are louder. When you’re with friends or family, chorus sounds would work the best. That would probably keep you distant enough from the Bears most of the times. So the simple game plan to keep yourself safe, to stay away from Bears and to avoid any sudden encounter of a Bear is – ‘Make Noise’!
Also read: My blog post on – Sensational Panorama of Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful Geysers
How to combat a Bear, if you encounter one.
If you feel that you can outrun a bear and you are being in that distance, well you can do that – if your vehicle is closer by.
Then a good helping friend would be a Pepper spray bottle. If you love hiking, you might probably end up encountering a Bear in the hiking trails in the wild. In that case, a Pepper Spray bottle would give you a great helping hand. Never miss to keep that in your check list of your back packing for hiking in Yellowstone wilderness.
Did Sightseeing, Photographing and made some Noises Too!
After staying for so long for more than 10 hours throughout the night without getting down from the car, we finally got down when the most wanted Dawn times arrived. Even after getting down, we kept looking around all the time. We took our cameras out and did head ahead for Geyser Basin in Norris Area. As I was walking through the walk ways of the Geyser Basin, I was making weird louder noises like which I have never made in my life so far. Well that was my plan to keep the Bears at bay. But my colleague wasn’t much scared at all. He was just walking through and taking photographs and didn’t make noise. Guess, I took all that huge responsibility of making all the terrible noises. Anyways, a life saving terrible noises though. Happy for that. 😉 😉
In those adventurous times, I didn’t forget to make noise for every 5 or 6 seconds and also after every photograph I took. That’s because we didn’t want to encounter a Wild Bear and make our times worse. You know as we had plans of lot more attractions to cover after the Norris Area – Old Faithful (Yellowstone), Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) and Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado).
And then a Grizzly Bear shows up!
Having spent for over 2 hours in all of the Norris Area – Walking through the Walk ways over the Geyser basin and seeing some Geysers in action and some being dormant giving the look of an amicable mini pond. We started off to our next attraction, the Old Faithful. In the next two minutes of drive from Norris area, we saw this huge Grizzly Bear across the River from far like some 50 meters. The Bear didn’t see us. We were watching the Bear for like 20 minutes or so. We kept watching, what it was doing and we were taking photographs and we were quite joy filled after seeing one. And that was the treat of the adventure, I must say.
We were expecting one with fear and excitement all night but it showed up in the morning around 8.30 am. It was like, Wow!!
Adventurous night stay in Car at Norris – Stays special!
The night stay at Norris Area, parking lot always stay close to my heart. I said that, as the night was filled with an appropriate mix of fear, fun and excitement. Not just in a forest, I’ve spent my nights being in the car, in the parking lot of a Walmart (a chain of huge retail stores in U.S.) in the city Hot Springs, Arkansas; in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in the city Colorado Springs, Colorado; in the parking lot of Visitor center at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado; in the parking lot of Visitor Center at Yellowstone National Park (East Entrance); in the parking lot of Visitor center at Badlands National Park, South Dakota; in the parking lot of visitor center in the city Estes Park, Colorado (Head Quarters for Rocky Mountain National Park) and have had some thoughts of staying night throughout at Central Park in New York City but didn’t do it because of the robbery concerns in my NYC times.
Yeah. The adventurous Norris night stays special, always! Go get your own adventure stories. 🙂
Also read: My blog posts on – Magnificent Terrains of the Badlands, South Dakota
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