30 November 2009

Books, books, books - On Yellowstone National Park

I just finished a book titled, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park by Tom Cahill.  This is the first book of Mr. Cahill's that I've read, and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to reading some more.

He describes some of his explorations in the park in a very humorous, yet sensible voice.  He makes no apologies that his book is not a guide to the park or a book on hiking trails.  His stories are amusing and made me laugh out loud at times.  It's a relatively short book and a quick read, but I suspect it will be one of those I go back to again and again.

I knew I was going to like the book when in the introduction Mr. Cahill describes a conversation with one of his hiking/exploring partners and well known Yellowstone photographer, Tom Murphy.  Mr. Cahill asks Mr. Murphy if he had ever been lost in Yellowstone, and Mr. Murphy responded, "No, but there were times I didn't know exactly where I was."

This is my kinda guy!  In all of my life, I've never been lost.  Off track maybe, but not lost!

Reading this book got me to thinking of all the books I've acquired over the years on Yellowstone and surprisingly enough many of the books I own are on his list of books he suggests as great resources on the park.  Either this means I'm really good at picking out resources on Yellowstone, or he and I both have the same tastes and reading style.   I suppose it could be both.

Other books I've read on Yellowstone are Death In Yellowstone Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey.  This book describes all manner of stupidity that visitors to Yellowstone display.  I have firsthand experience in witnessing this stupidity.  It amazes me how many people just don't get that Yellowstone is  wilderness area and it's not some Disney adventure park.

Some of the deaths described in the book are truly horrific.  For instance the man who dove head first into Celestine Pool to rescue his friend's dog that had escaped the vehicle.  Celestine Pool, according to the book, measured at 202° F.  The man suffered third degree burns over 100% of his body and died the next day.  Sadly, the dog did not survive either.  Apparently the literature the two men were given upon entering the park extolling the dangers they could possibly encounter was still in their vehicle.  Unread.

My advice to anyone heading to Yellowstone for the first time, would be to read this book.  If you learn something from reading it, then head on to the park and enjoy all the wonders Yellowstone has to offer.  If you think it's a bunch of malarkey and the rules don't apply to you, then please stay home and spare the rest of us your stupidity.

Another book Mr. Whittlesey is a contributing author on is The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery.  This book is very informative (and has some great photography) that describes many of Yellowstone's waterfalls and even directs people on where and how to find the various falls.  The authors took many years to explore the park looking for waterfalls and do advise the reader on the level of difficulty to get to each of the falls, as well as whether it is even prudent to attempt to reach some of the falls.  Now, I've done a few of the hikes to see some of the falls, and I'm smart enough to know that if the three men who undertook this endeavor, and for all intents and purposes, are "experts" in the field of surviving in the wilderness, say "don't go there," then I'm not going there.  Unfortunately, there are some folks who don't have the desire to see another waterfall on another day, and will attempt getting to the most difficult to access falls.  Maybe one day, they will be chronicled in Death in Yellowstone Vol. II.

Other books I would recommend on Yellowstone are:

Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone by Bill Schneider

Peterson Field Guides: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

And just because if there's poop to be found, I *will* find it, I include, Who Pooped in the Park?  Yellowstone National Park by Gary D. Robson and Elijah Brady Clark

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some good books. I am planning a vacation to Glacier soon. Might have a read..


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