© Daryle Kaiser
Greetings from Yellowstone
Later 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
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
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?)
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 to------keep moving!
© 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
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.
In the 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.
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
Keeping everyone hydrated
has been a bit of a problem in the past. Help me out and come
Your 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 ---.eBay
keyword: 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.
I never 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 and sunglasses.
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
© Daryle Kaiser
The type of experience you leave Yellowstone with is
totally up to you! Plain and simple.
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 can.
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
Just for fun:
Check 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!
The 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
#2: At the base of trees
#3: Inside old trees
#4: Bears don't dig dens, they use
the word "crepuscular"
#1: having a hard shell
#2: having excellent night vision
#3: having activities at dusk or
#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 of 1995/96?
#1: Mollie's, Grant
#2: Rose Creek, Crystal Creek, Soda
#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
#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
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
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
Question? Email the