The joy and sadness in Yellowstone

After I left Sheridan and started my way towards Yellowstone national park I finally realized that I’m in the mountain area. Riding west and looking at Big Horn mountains filled me with excitement, I understood that the long days of riding and seeing nothing around me like I had in the Midwest are not going to happen for a while. From now I’ll need to use some riding skills and not just sit on the bike and keep the throttle open, riding through the mountains can be tricky sometimes, especially when so many people around don’t know how to drive.

Riding through the Big Horn was a lot of fun – views very fantastic, road in a good condition and it wasn’t too crowded. I stopped on the top of the mountain to make lunch and put some warm cloth, the elevation made it very chill up there.

After that I continued to Cody and stayed there for the night because of the rain. From the short conversation with some locals I understood that it rained in the park for the last few days and they saw many bikes turn around and go home. I couldn’t go back, so the only thing that I had to do is to hope that the next day will be better even if the weather forecast is not very promising (60% chance of rain).

Another bad thing happened except of the weather – one of my dry bags detached from the bike and I lost all my warm cloth. I even found the exact place where it felt (dry spot on the road and my sleeping mat next to it suggested so) but somebody took it and I wonder why would anyone do that? So in order to cheer myself up and spent a boring rainy evening somehow I decided to go see the movie “Ted”. I wanted to see it for a while and finally had a time for that. It was hilarious! But at the same time pretty serious and mature. I will write my review about it later. I went to sleep smiling and excited for the next day.

Early morning brought good news – I saw clear sky and I decided not to waste anytime (how I usually do) and start to ride.

I decided to go through the northeast entrance because Phil, uncle of my friend Dave, said that it’s a very beautiful ride, and even if it was a detour I decide to trust his experience. And he was right, the view was fantastic and I very enjoyed a few hour climb to Yellowstone.

The park itself was overwhelming! I didn’t realize how big it is and how many things to do and to see there. I planned to spend only one day inside the park and it was my mistake, you can spend there a week and not seeing everything. So I needed to make it efficient, the planned route helped me not to ride on the same road twice and I carefully picked up places to stop.

Besides the planning I had a lot of luck – I saw bisons and elks from very close, grizzly bear and cub from a distance.

When I came to see geyser eruption at Old Faithful my timing was perfect, I needed to wait only 10 minutes (intervals can range from 60 to 110 minutes).

And the size and the beauty of Grand Prismatic Spring simply blew my mind. it was fascinating to watch an example of how the life on Earth started.

But the entire ride one though never left me, and when you ride for hours you have a lot of time to think about it. Yellowstone is one the most visited places in USA, and people enjoy watching the wildlife not less then geysers and hot springs, so I was asking myself “Why do we have to travel so far just to simply enjoy the nature, wildlife, and clean water?” I saw hundreds of people stop their cars just to take a picture of an elk or a bison, animals that not suppose to be that exciting in North America, they suppose to be everywhere! The reason of lack of the wildlife outside of national parks and forests is well know to everybody – lack of protection and regulation, continuous destruction of the nature for sake of industrial development and suburban sprawl, basically just to maintain our consumerist way of life. And the sad part of visiting the park was realizing that for most of the visitors it’s just another place to spend the weekend and way entertain themselves, on the next day they will return to their “normal” life in order to

“Buy thing we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people that we don’t like”

(Dave Ramsey).

I really wish that more people after seeing such a beautiful place like Yellowstone will come back home and start doing something to change the situation. And maybe one day we won’t need to travel so far to see this.

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