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Bitter About The Critters

When I was a child, my parents took my brother and I on a trip west. What I remember most about that trip (aside from my Father getting Lyme disease and being sick as a dog) is Yellow Stone park.

Yellow Stone is one of those famous parks that everyone has heard about and seems to be a major destination for all families. But it’s particularly famous for its wildlife. We were in an Inn one evening (again, supposed to be camping, but my Dad was sick) and my Mom allowed my brother and I (age 12 and 10 respectively) to go walking. We decided to go on a small nature hike. We stopped along the road to simply view the nature and take pictures. All of a sudden, a car pulled in behind us. My brother and I were a little frightened- we were young kids and suddenly strangers were approaching us.

“Where’s the animals!?,” the driver asked us. A bunch of people- mostly kids- piled out of his car.

“The animals?,” My brother repeated blankly.

“Yeah, where’s the animals?,” the man repeated, pointing to the mountain we’d just been viewing.

Then, all of a sudden, two more cars pull over behind him. My brother just finishes telling the first man that there are no animals when all the drivers from these cars leap out, saying things like, “Where’s the bear? Do you see a bear? Do you have your binoculars? Where are the animals?”

The man from the first car calls to the others in a dejected voice. “There’s no animals! False alarm!”

A woman from the same first car, presumably the man’s wife, walks up and starts to scold us- that’s right, perfect strangers, about how wrong it was to pull a ‘joke’ like that. (My brother and I are both thinking, “Joke? What?”) She tells us that “they paid good money to come here and show their kids the animals, and by jolly we’re going to see the animals in this park!” My brother and I stared at her, afraid of this weird stranger, as well as the now growing crowd of people, as well as the slowing traffic, now dozens of people hanging out their car windows, looking up at the mountains, trying to spot an eagle or a bear or a mountain lion. Who knows what might have happened? Thankfully, my Mom thought we’d been gone rather long and came to see what was happening.

My Mom asked my brother what was going on. The woman butted in and told her that we’d been pointing to the mountain in attempts to get people to pull over. My mother asked why people would pull over and the woman’s husband explained, “For the ANIMALS of course!” My mom turned and asked us what we’d been looking at. We told her we wanted to get pictures of the mountains for Dad (he didn’t get to see any of the park, and we wanted to surprise him).

My mom smiled and took us by the hands, saying we’d taken enough pictures today and we turned to leave. The woman yelled something after us, which I cannot remember exactly, except that it was rude- along the lines of “control your children”.   Mom didn’t listen. She took us back to the Inn, gave us a brief lecture about walking along the road instead of taking the children’s trail-which is where she thought we were going. We weren’t allowed to go out by ourselves during our stay at Yellowstone anymore.

My favorite thing about this memory is my Mom’s behavior. She didn’t apologize to the lady, nor did she turn when the woman shouted that last statement. She kept her cool and had the grace to walk away. I guess it’s another one of those situations people thinking they are entitled to the best experience possible.

Before we left, we actually did see a bear- and a bunch of idiots who were walking up close to it with their cameras. We called the park ranger  but didn’t stick around to see the gruesome result. 0202-11

Ehell Rule #4,356 – It is not rude for bears to eat rude park tourists. Nom, nom, nom.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Louise March 16, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Props to the OP’s mother! A bunch of cars pulling up and some strange lady telling me off? I would have been terrified in the OP’s position. Not cool, strange lady. Not cool at all.

  • K March 16, 2011, 8:08 pm

    I get this all the time. I’m a stock photographer. I take eclectic photos of my surroundings for stock. For myself, I take fine art macro photos of flowers in bloom or leaf patterns or the play of light on pine needles. It always amazes me when total strangers invade my privacy and start gathering around me, trying to see what they’re missing and asking me where the animals are–even places as innocuous as the local park. You know, if there WERE any animals and I was a wildlife photographer, my foot would be up your *ss because you just scared them all off, morons. Whatever happened to leaving strangers alone?
    I just give them a look like they’re crazy, because they are, then go back to my photo and totally ignore them.

  • 1st-Time Mommy March 17, 2011, 7:40 am

    Growing up, my Mom actually was a forest ranger. I’m sure she could share a few thousand “dumb tourists” stories. My favorite were the repeated complaints she got from new campers about all the mosquitoes hanging around their campsite. ‘Cause, you know, OBVIOUSLY she should be doing something about all those mosquitoes in the forest.

    Also, I’ve visited Lyme, Connecticut, home of Lyme’s Disease, and it’s actually quite a lovely little Irish town.

  • majuba March 17, 2011, 9:30 am

    A couple of years ago there was a story here in Australia of just this type of dumb tourist.
    A large whale had died and was floating in the ocean just off the coast. Naturally it had attracted a heap of sharks that had swum in to feed on it. Several enterprising people started taking boatloads of tourists out to watch the feeding frenzy.
    The real kicker was the REALLY STUPID tourists that actually climbed onto the whale carcase in order to get closer to all those hungry sharks. Yep, that’s right, they stood atop a dead whale with their feet only inches from dozens of snapping great white SHARKS so that they could get a great photo. Several even took photos and video of themselves trying to pat/touch/stroke the shark.
    If you’ve ever watched nature documentaries you will know sharks tend to take a bite first and then ask questions later!!
    Bet there would have been all sorts of screams if one of those dopey nature lovers had lost a foot while getting that photo.

  • Kitty Lizard March 17, 2011, 12:53 pm

    That photo is HILARIOUS. I just spewed iced tea all over my keyboard.

    Thanks for putting a shine on my afternoon.

  • SouthernAngel March 17, 2011, 10:09 pm

    This reminds of our vacation last year in the Great Smokie Mountains. We rented an apartment away from town a bit and near a river. On our way back to the apartment from our trip to town, our daughter walked ahead to go up the ramp to the second floor where are apartment is (the stairs, ramps, and walk ways are all outside). She came face to face with a small black bear that wasn’t more that 2 feet away coming down the ramp. They both stopped briefly, looked at each other, my daughter slowly walks back in the direction she came and all she could say was “bear” One member of a family in the apartment below us happens to hear her say bear and yells to everyone else and next thing I know there is a crowd following (yep, literally following this bear) towards the river he was headed to anyway. They were snapping pictures and gawking at this poor bear that was really minding his own business and making his way down the mountain to the river.

  • Eisa March 19, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Most of my childhood was spent in both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. My parents instilled *great* respect for the animals in both my sister and I, and that we were never to get too close to them. Chipmunk? Ok. Bison? NOT OK. Bear? SUPER HUGELY NOT OK. We even once came back to our campsite to discover a bison had taken up residence in it for the nonce. We came back later.

    The real idiocy was when you would drive down the road and an animal [deer, elk, moose, bison, even bear] would be crossing the road…and all the idiot tourists would hop out of their car and get as close as possible to take a picture. And you know they won’t listen to you when you inform them that actually that moose is quite dangerous and can really hurt you if you annoy it. Even stupider when it’s a bear. Hello, they *eat meat*. *You* are meat. They don’t particularly care that you’re human-shaped and “not supposed to be eaten.”

    And of course, the stupid people who assume that the animals are there by command, like the idiots in this story. You may or may not see the particular animal you want to see, but they sure aren’t there to be called like dogs. [And that also reminds me of how many people try and get really close and personal with coyotes or wolves “because they look like dogs.” They might look it…but they sure as heck AREN’T domesticated, and will hurt you!]

  • Enna March 20, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Some people are unbelievable, you are children not telepathic park rangers!

  • PrincessSimmi March 21, 2011, 7:07 am

    Oh my goodness. Tourists! We once somehow managed to catch a metre-long stingray with a hand-reeled fishing line on holidays. The only thing we wanted to do was get it back into the water. The idiots from the next campsite came over to take photos, too! What part of ‘stingrays are dangerous’ do you not get? Wild animals are just that – WILD. Hell, my CAT is completely domesticated, and you should see some of the scars I have from her! Leave the poor creatures alone!

  • Asharah March 21, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I’m remembering Season 1 of the Amazing Race where they had a task involving photographing African wildlife at a park. Apparently they forgot to include, “DO NOT GET OUT OF CAR AND CHASE THE RHINO TO GET A PICTURE!” on the directions because somebody did. Luckily nobody got hurt. I’m excusing the show because this was season one and they still had alot to learn about how much safety advice to include with the directions. Seriously, it’s a Rhino, do you really have to be told to stay in the car while photographing it?

  • ladycrim March 22, 2011, 5:21 pm

    “Where’s the BEAR???”

    “Right behind you! RUN!”

  • Kennedar March 22, 2011, 8:38 pm

    We drive through Banff National Park (in Canada) probably once a month to get from our home to our cabin. We see bears, moose, coyotes etc all the time. We have even had bears come to explore the front of the cabin while we were out back. Growing up in this type of environment, you learn very early that wild animals are not to be toyed with. It always amazes me to see people harassing the poor animals, leave them alone!! The more they get used to seeing people, the more likely they are to harass others and then have to be put down. I want my children to be able to see the bears in their natural environment, not in a zoo!

  • Calli Arcale March 24, 2011, 11:03 am

    Just that one word, “Yellowstone”, and I knew this was going to be a story about idiot tourists with unrealistic expectations. Yelling at the children for existing and making the idiot think maybe there’s an animal takes it into a whole new level, though, because it’s not just stupid but downright rude as well.

    The stupidities I’ve seen…

    Last time I went backpacking in the Rockies, we passed a group of three heading up as we were heading down. The three were on horseback. OK, so far. They had their gear on a fourth animal, a pack mule who evidently was getting along okay with the horses. Still OK. The horses were very skittish about our packs as they went by, though, which made me wonder how well the next few miles of their trip would go. Getting a bit concerned, then. The three humans in the party were a man and his two young children. Uh oh — one adult, two small kids. That’s risky. The two kids were on full-sized horses with adult saddles; their feet could not reach the stirrups. That’s bad — these trails go along steep dropoffs, and you do NOT want to get unhorsed. Dad had a rifle — perhaps prudent in bear country, but actually illegal in this particular area unless you happen to be a ranger or law enforcement. (Hunting was banned in this area.) I didn’t comment on that (in the wilderness, don’t complain about somebody’s firearm) but we did casually ask where they were going when the dad asked how conditions were up the trail. The dad said they were going up to a nice lake to do some fishing — a lake which, by the way, was posted as closed to horses. I pointed that out, and the dad nodded and said that was exactly why they were going there — horses had ruined all the others.

    *shakes head* Some people. I can only hope the family made out again okay, because in addition to the dad being a jerk about the rules, they were not well outfitted for the journey.

  • Cady March 28, 2011, 8:22 pm

    *sigh* As a longtime Eastern Idahoan, I can definitively say the behavior the OP witnessed at Yellowstone is pretty typical. Unfortunately, there tend to be two outcomes for people who disrespect the park: They suffer no ill consequences for their behavior and continue to damage fragile geological features and put animals at risk (for example, “problem” bears that have learned people = food often have to be killed to keep campers safe), or they are horribly injured by scalding water or wild creatures. The thing that always bugs me the most is that the park provides literature and signage that clearly outline why you should respect the park and its wildlife, but people choose to be willfully ignorant and spoil it for everyone else.

  • Julie May 29, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Some of this posting reminded me of one of my brothers stories.

    When my brother was in his late teens and early 20s he worked in a Provincial Park. During the summer bears would often frequent the park garbage collection areas.

    One day my brother while driving through the park happen across a mother and an approximately 3 year old little girl. The mother had given her daughter several slices of bread and was sending her child to feed it to a 300-400lb huge bear so that she could take a picture.

    My brother stops the truck, calmly walks over picks up the toddler (he was in uniform) and turns to the mother and says “ma’am please come with me.” and gets back in his park truck. Well she actually did (miracle or miracles) but the whole time is yelling at him for ruining her once in a life time family picture. My brother calmly requests her campsite and drives mother and daughter to it all the while mother is yelling at him. When the get to the site mother jumps out of the truck, drags daughter out by the arm and screams at her husband how horrible my brother was ruining her photo (she left out the part about the bear). After finally stoping to take a breath this idiot turns to my brother an asks (I kid you note) how they tame the bears?. My brother looks calmly over at her and says”Ma’am that bear wasn’t tame it was a wild animial. What you were attempting to do was feed your daughter to that bear, but your right that would have been a once in a life time photo. Sir , Ma’am have a nice day.”

    Its the Ma’am part that gets me.

  • Fliss June 13, 2012, 10:32 pm

    The beauty of Australia is you have to go looking for the top-line predators. The bad news is most of the fairly amiable animals can be dangerous.

    Kangaroos use those long hind legs to fight and try and gut their opponents. Possums will turn into screaming balls of fury if you annoy them. The pretty lizards all have venom and will bite if you try and touch them. Snakes don’t glide off, they turn and chase you, spiders lurk under every rock or are giants and will drop on you from a ceiling crack while you’re on the loo, the will mob you if you unwrap your picnic sandwiches. If you go for a refreshing swim, toxic stonefish, octopusses, sharks, stingrays, and barracuda are all waiting for you.

    We won’t even talk about the drop-bears, yowies, wonambi’s, big cats, thylacines, perenties, crocs, pigs, and dingoes that lurk in the night. Probably while you’re falling over a bush trying to find the campsite loo in the dark.

  • NostalgicGal February 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

    Adding one that just has to be added, found this in the archives but. Carful of people in an African style drive through preserve with big signs all over and a warning before they let you drive in, that you had to stay IN your car, keep the windows rolled up, even your vent windows if you had them, and close your sunroof and keep it closed. There are predators that will eat you. Pride of lions and some three month old cubs lolling, and good photo-op, and one woman was not happy with the arrangement and GOT OUT of the car before anyone could stop her to run over and rearrange a cub for a better photo! It took over two hours for the rangers to get the lions off of what was left of her. They thought they’d sue. They were right next to one of the signs warning them to stay IN their car. Didn’t happen…(the lawsuit).