We arrive at Yellowstone on my birthday. I’ll admit it – I originally thought this would be a terrible place to celebrate. I grew up enjoying birthdays repurposed as “Peter Day,” a day in which I was allowed to do whatever I want and go wherever I desired all day long. Maybe it wasn’t the most responsible birthday gift for an already spoiled child, but I appreciated my parents’ willingness to see it through, which meant activities like spending hours in a video game shop or lining up opening day for Super Mario Bros. – The Movie.
In fact, thinking back on it, there were very few Peter Days that spent much time outside at all, meaning a trip to Yellowstone might just be the antithesis of a Peter Day. However, I like to think that I’ve (somewhat) grown out of my spoiled rotten phase and can graciously allow others to make itinerary decisions on my birthday. I think I’m mature enough to let someone else take the reins on the one day a year we celebrate my life, even if that someone just happened to celebrate her birthday only a few months ago and spent an entire week getting to do whatever she wanted. I am totally fine with this.
But to be honest, my reluctance about a birthday at Yellowstone is completely unfounded – it’s truly a magical place. Just like the Badlands felt like an alien landscape, Yellowstone ups the ante tenfold. With its colorful hot springs, grand canyons, and abundant wildlife, it’s a natural amusement park. Even the most jaded urbanite part of me stands no chance against the awesome topography and lush forests inside this wonderland.
Old Faithful, however, is a bit of a letdown. After twenty minutes of waiting around and three aborted home videos, when it finally blows, there’s really no amount of water show that could rise above the hype. And there’s certainly no spectacle that could make it worth sitting through tourists’ constant heckling of Old Faithful’s performance anxiety.
(TIP and/or TRICK: When visiting Yellowstone’s most famous attraction, please remember that you are not the first person to say, “That’s okay, it happens to a lot of geysers.”)
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