America, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

150 years of Yellowstone

Some take it for granted but as we mark 150 years of Yellowstone it is worth reprising the words of a Ranger who was asked what he would do if he had just one day in the US National Park.

‘Cry’ was his rather laconic but revealing message.

‘Twas Ulysses S. Grant, hero of the North, who opened Yellowstone National Park, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, on March 1, 1872.

Although we prefer to mention the work our very own Scottish explorer John Muir did there and elsewhere in the States which earned him the mantle ‘Father of the National Parks.’

But it is important to acknowledge that the Native Americans (Red Indians in 19th Century parlance) had been there for 11,000 years.

Thanks a million

Is that a bear coming? Yellowstone

No wonder our Ranger of course would weep if he was only offered one day in Yellowstone.

Because there are 2 million acres of the park.

And while we’ve all heard of Old Faithful, you’ll also want to take in Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake.

One million of us visit Yellowstone every year (in a Covid-free year) and with that amount of space you’ll never feel congested.

And here are some useful tips for our visit.

Yellowstone tips

The Big Country: The Great American West

The entrance fee for each of Wyoming’s national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) is $35 per vehicle to visit for one to seven days. Entrance fees for other National Park Service sites, such as Devils Tower National Monument, vary.

Reservations are required to camp anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and open six months prior to the date you wish to camp. Book early to reserve a spot.

Reservations are required within certain campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Plan ahead and reserve campsites early.

Backcountry permits are required to backpack within national park boundaries.

Pets are only allowed where vehicles are allowed in national parks and must be kept on a 6-foot leash. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters.

The wildlife is wild. Do not approach, chase or feed animals, and stay in your vehicle if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam.

Grizzly bears reside in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Stay safe by carrying bear spray, being alert, making noise and traveling in groups of three or more.

Masks are required on all federal lands when social distancing isn’t possible.

How to get there

Sweep of nature: In Wyoming

There are smaller airports around Yellowstone but we’d advise the old Road Trip around the Great American West.

And we’d suggest the eight-hour 532-mile drive from our favourite Denver in Colorado.

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

In an RV mind, and not the rodeo which we’ll tell you more about soon.

And a shout-out too for bespoke Travel providers G Adventures who are offering eight days Jackson to Yellowstone National Park from £2399. Valid on Jun 19 2022

So get your 150 Years of Yellowstone up and running. You’ll cry with joy.




America, Countries, Culture

America The Old Faithful

It’s one of my go-to countries where I always feel right at home… America The Old Faithful.

It’s the land of the young and the hopeful, and those in their golden years.

Yes the best old geezers… and I’m not talking Joe Biden or Donald Trump either.

No, these are the old geezers of The Great American West, chief among them Old Faithful.

Old geezers

Whoosh: The Old Faithful

The geezer in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming erupts every 44 minutes to two hours, rather less frequently than the Scary One. 

And it is known to spew  3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185ft feet lasting from a minute and half to five minutes.

Wyoming lays claim to most of the 3,500sq mile Yellowstone Park, while Montana and Idaho also own some of it.

And much of it is covered by the Father of the National Parks Scot John Muir, who hails from just along the road from us here in Dunbar, East Lothian. 

Wyoming’s footprint on Yellowstone is undeniable but more contentious is their ownership of Buffalo Bill.

Fits the Bill

Buffalo Bill: Rest in peace

A good old Wild West row has brewed ever since William Cody died in 1917 in Denver, Colorado.

The Coloradans make a big thing, as you would, of that and any visitor to Denver should check out The Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum on Lookout Mountain. 

Thing is though that the good people of Wyoming claim Bill for themselves and insist that it is a vagrant who rests for eternity in Colorado.

And they celebrate the superstar cowboy in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

We’ll maybe leave that to Wyoming and Colorado to fight over and just be grateful that it’s double bubble. 

Buffalo Bill, of course, was a global star of his time on account of his touring Rough Riders which included one Sitting Bull.

Little Big Horn

Standing: Chief Sitting Bull

And you can see where he and Crazy Horse had their greatest triumph in Little Big Horn, across the border in Montana.

Now if you have a middling or less knowledge of the Mid West don’t beat yourself up over it… as even American History students are always learning.

I don’t know where Ted Ransen is now but  I hope he’s on a ranch.

Because he knocked the narrow-minded Scottishness out of me when he told me that if I didn’t know the capital of North Dakota then how should I expect Americans to know the capital of Scotland.

You don’t forget things like this.. it’s Bismarck.

And finally the US is the gift that keeps on giving and you can always rely on America The Old Faithful.