We’re now on our final leg of the grand Van Damm tour, having left SLC we dove up through Idaho into Wyoming, where we are currently residing in Jackson hole, our base before we head up to Yellowstone National Park (and where I am currently sat in a coffee shop writing this blog)…
So we hit Yellowstone National Park – or as some might call it Jellystone (well those who watched Yogi Bear!) Wow what a place, for those of you that do not know, it is one of the planet’s largest time bombs – as it’s an active supervolcano, and home to over 300 active geysers – the most famous being ‘Old Faithful’, mudpots, hot springs and fumaroles. These provided a canvas of colours and some rather potent smells…
I should also mention that Yellowstone is home to more than 200 species of animals – from grizzly bears, black bears, to beavers, bison, moose to bald eagles. Now it pains me to say this.. but we still haven’t seen a bear, me and Tom are beginning to think they don’t exist!
Whilst there, we did two nights backcountry camping, which involves reaching a remote destination for a one-of-a-kind camping experience away from civilisation and at nature with the wilderness (in my case absolutely petrified that the bears might come), carrying all our supplies, food, tent etc and setting off on a planned hike that would take us through the next few days…
Before we set off we had to get a wilderness permit from the ranger, and also watch an 18 minute video on ‘safety’ mainly learning what to do if you encounter a bear, how to cook and store food at your campsite, and other useful bear information. To be precise the following, for those who are interested:
- Secure all scented items, food, toiletries, rubbish, clothes you’ve cooked in, by hanging at least 10 feet off ground and 5 feet from tree.
- Restrict all cooking, eating, cleaning activities and food storage to 100 feet downwind from tents (this included any toilet activity)
- Do not sleep outside of tent or with any “smellables” in your tent including empty food wrappers.
- Never leave any food scraps or garbage out
- Wash dishes and utensils immediately – dispose of waste water downwind, 100 feet from sleeping area
- Always use flashlight and extra caution when moving around at night
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Needless to say, I didn’t sleep too great for fear of the ‘old bear’ – however it was an amazing experience – I got to see a beaver, and be at one with nature – and I obviously lived to tell the tale…