2004 expedition/photo ©
Greetings from Yellowstone
this next spring or summer you will take off for the wilds of the
great American West and experience a trip you will remember the
rest of your lives! To make your Yellowstone experience more enjoyable
I have some suggestions based on past Evans Middle School (Great
Western Expedition) trips.
expedition/photo © Chris Crockett
Wear comfortable walking
Sandals are ok around camp or in the hotel but most
of the terrain you will be expected to walk through will vary from
wooden boardwalks and paved walkways to rough, rocky, uneven trails
with sage brush, tall grasses, weeds, flowers, and yes......sometimes
horse and other animal droppings on the trail.
A good hiking shoe
or boot is best but tennis shoes generally work fine. If you decide
to purchase a new hiking boot or shoe make sure you wear them often
prior to your trip. Wearing a new boot on a rocky trail without
first breaking them in is miserable and you will end up with blisters,
but keep in mind that the tennis shoes you wear on a daily basis
are just fine. Do Not go out and buy something you will only
use on this trip.
I have found that a good medium weight hiking sock
will also help cushion the bumps on the trail and help to keep your
feet cool and dry. You will be expected to hike and walk quite
a bit so be prepared! and NO SNIVELING!!
Shorts are ok around camp or in developed areas but
when we are hiking in Yellowstone's backcountry you will need a
good pair of jeans or other long pants. Loose fitting preferably
so that you can move and bend freely. I know bell bottoms are back
in style but a standard relaxed fit boot cut jean works best at
keeping weeds from depositing nasty, and itchy seeds onto your socks
and they don't weigh as much which you will understand fully about
4 miles down the first trail we hike.
When we hike around Old
Faithful you could probably wear shorts since we will be hiking
primarily on boardwalks. Your chaperone will advise you on what
to wear prior to each hike.
(leave your cursor
on the picture and see what happens....neat huh?)
Creepy, Crawling, Flying-----Bugs!
Just accept it now, no matter what month you visit
Yellowstone there will be bugs. I personally hate bug spray but
you might want to carry a small bottle of bug dope. Generally how
I defend myself is to wear jeans, ball cap and depending on the
month a long sleeve shirt, and just deal with it! If you
happen to be here in June expect more mosquitoes. July and August
expect more deer and horse flies with scattered wet, cool areas
with a few mosquitoes. The best way to keep the bugs off is simply
© Daryle Kaiser
The average elevation in Yellowstone Park is 8000 feet.
Because of this the humidity is very low, about 25 percent on average.
Sweat will evaporate very quickly and because your body is used
to breathing in air with a higher humidity level you will expel
tons of moisture which you will need to replace constantly.
Water also helps to
counteract the effects of high elevation sickness. The amount of
red blood cells that my body produces is nearly 2 times what your
body produces because I have lived at this elevation for 20 years.
Red blood cells carry oxygen and the more red blood cells your body
produces the more oxygen it can carry and the higher you can climb
in elevation before you feel the effects. Water helps decrease the
effects of oxygen deprivation.
past students have purchased water and just carried the bottles
in their hands while hiking. This works, but I have a better idea
and after doing a quick search online I found some affordable alternatives.
I found this
fanny pack with two water bottles for $14.95 at Campmor.com.
Large enough to carry bug spray, pencil, paper, camera, extra film,
candy or power bar. Plus you don't have to buy water at $1.00 a
bottle. Within a couple of days this pack will pay for itself.
Keeping everyone hydrated has
been a bit of a problem in the past. Help me out and come prepared
local Sporting Goods store probably has a nice selection and maybe
on sale during the winter months so check them out. You might also
do a quick search on Ebay. I found various packs of different types
H2O Fanny Pack
The weather can be VERY unpredictable in Yellowstone.
I have had the temperature drop 40 degree's and snow in August.
However, more than likely the weather will be nice while you are
here and probably be a bit warm and dry during the day but you can
count on it being cool, to down right cold in the mornings. A light
jacket or sweater will come in handy.
leave the house without my rain gear. A cheap rain poncho bought
for about $3.00 at Wal-mart will be all you really need and in a
pinch a 30 gallon trash bag with a hole cut in the bottom for your
cranium to fit through will work too but if you already own them,
a rain jacket and rain pants work even better. Not only will rain
gear keep you dry but they also help hold body heat. If you have
to buy something buy the cheap rain poncho. More than likely you
will not have to use it anyway.
If you already have rain pants and jacket make sure the rain pants
can fit over your shoes or boots without having to remove them first.
This is handy when we are experiencing all four seasons in a day
and we are putting on gear and taking it off as we hike. Your mom
can easily make the needed changes to the bottom of a pair of rain
pants if need be by making a straight line cut up the outside seam
of each pants leg about 8 inches and adding a button, snap or velcro
strip to the bottom of each to hold them together once on.
expedition/photo © Chris Crockett
Because the elevation in Yellowstone is high, the atmosphere
is very thin and the sun index, or amount of ultraviolet light is
very high. Sunburns are very common with visitors. Wear a good sunscreen
CD and Mp3 players are great during
the long drives you will be experiencing in the bus but not on the
trail. I need you to hear me.
can come in real handy for getting close up views of wildlife while
you are in the bus or on a hiking trail.
are great for capturing 'those special moments" but keep in mind
that the park service requires us to keep at least 25 yards from
all wildlife---100 yards from bears, so that disposable camera you
plan on carrying probably will not do a good job with wildlife but
will do a great job with scenic shots of geysers, waterfalls, mountains
or the goof ball guide/instructor that is torturing you up the latest
hiking trail. (make note that I said UP the trail, Yellowstone is
in the Rocky Mountains after all-------Toto, we're not in Iowa anymore)
When deciding on a disposable camera or film for a standard 35mm
camera, try to buy film or a disposable camera in the ASA 200 range.
Disposable cameras with ASA 200 film are not as common but can be
found even at Wal-mart or Target, you just have to look a little
closer and read the labels. Most disposable camera's come with ASA
400 or 1000 speed film! Great for the race track but terrible for
beautiful scenic shots.
The lower the ASA,
the better, and clearer the picture will be. The higher the ASA
film speed the faster the film. Great for stopping motion, and small
4X5 inch pictures but if you plan on enlarging any pictures to 8X10
or larger you will want a slower ASA film speed. I personally use
Fuji chrome ASA 50 and can generally hand hold the camera without
a tripod with a 60-200mm lens in good light and I can enlarge the
picture to a massive 10 feet X 8 feet in size!
© Daryle Kaiser
The type of experience you leave Yellowstone with is totally
up to you! Plain and simple.
Most of you
probably have not traveled much before this and will probably be
the most exciting adventure of your lives. I expect you to have
fun and learn while you are here and will do everything I can to
make your experience in Yellowstone as interesting and fun as I
In fact, at
the end of the Yellowstone portion of your adventure you should
be able to work any Visitor Center desk and answer any question
posed by a standard visitor. That's how much information you will
be given...........its up to you how much you learn and remember.
Just for fun:
out the Old Faithful
Web Cam and see Old Faithful erupt before you get here. The
camera is located just inside the window of the Old Faithful Visitor
Center. While we are at Old Faithful this summer you can stand in
front of the camera and wave to your parents!
answers to the following questions can be found among the pages
within this web site. I have included hyperlinks to each page where
the answers can be found.
of Yellowstone Park
Prior to hibernating,
61% of all grizzly bears dig their dens so that the den opening
faces in which direction?
percent of all grizzly bear dens are dug where?
#1: In crawl spaces under
#2: At the base of trees
#3: Inside old trees
#4: Bears don't dig dens, they use natural
the word "crepuscular"
#1: having a hard shell
#2: having excellent night vision
#3: having activities at dusk or dawn,
#4: having a weak muscle structure
two specie of bears inhabit Yellowstone National park?
#1: Polar bears
#2: Grizzly bears
#3: Panda bears
#4: Black bears
#5: All of the above
percentage of a bears diet in Yellowstone consists of vegetation?
#4: 0 %
of Yellowstone Park
Wolves were reintroduced
into Yellowstone using which type of release method?
three packs of wolves were the first to be released during the winter
#1: Mollie's, Grant Village,
#2: Rose Creek, Crystal Creek, Soda Butte
#3: Mammoth, Norris, Canyon
#4: Gardiner, Gallatin River, Bozeman
wolves that were reintroduced , or transplanted back into Yellowstone
were kept in fenced enclosures for 8-10 weeks. Why?
#1: This allowed the wolves
to get used to (acclimated) their new environment, and learn that
there were no other wolves in the area.
#2: It allowed the wolves to feel safer.
#3: This allowed the wolves to recover
from the stresses of being transplanted.
#4: It allowed researchers to choose
the best time when the wolves could be released successfully, such
as when a large elk herd was walking nearby.
#5: All of the above.
average wolf pack in the wild consists of how many members?
#1: 12-15 members
#2: 5-10 members
#3: 6-8 members
#4: 3-5 members
What year was Yellowstone
National Park founded?
how many different thermal features are found in Yellowstone Park?
all four types of thermal features found in Yellowstone
geyser basin is Old Faithful found in?
as a whole possesses close to what percent of the world's geysers?
#5: None of the above
time in the morning do the rangers turn the geysers on?
#1: 4:30 AM
#2: 6:30 AM
#3: 12:00 AM
#4: 8:00 AM
#5: None of the above.
in a paragraph or two what the number one thing is you hope to see
and or do while you are in Yellowstone park this next summer?
Do you day
dream about hiking back to a lake and maybe spotting a moose? Would
you like to see as many geysers as you can? Maybe you would like
to see some waterfalls? I know everyone wants to see a bear and
a wolf, but what do you dream about when you think of Yellowstone?
And no. Hanging around the hotel, or
cabin all day is not a good answer so don't even think about it!
Question? Email the Bearman: