Yellowstone tourist narrowly avoids being being stewed in hot spring
Straying off the boardwalk is dangerous, and backing up without looking behind you is even more so
A woman visiting Yellowstone National Park had a narrow escape recently after nearly backing right into one of the famous geothermal pools. The guest and a friend were caught on camera after wandering off the boardwalks for a photo. One used her phone to snap a picture, while the other posed by the scalding hot water, walking backwards and only narrowly avoiding disaster.
The incident, which you can watch below, was recorded by Elyse Hemenway and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone. The account highlights examples of careless and dangerous behavior at US National Parks, including visitors dabbling fingers in hot springs (with predictable results) and taunting wildlife.
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Yellowstone National Park was built around its geothermal springs and pools, and they remain some of its star attractions. The National Park Service (NPS) has constructed a network of trails and boardwalks that gives visitors a good view of spectacles like Grand Prismatic and Old Faithful while keeping them at a safe distance, but wandering off these routes can have tragic consequences.
People have been seriously injured after trespassing, and more visitors have died after suffering burns at the hot springs than have been killed in bear attacks at the park.
"The water in hydrothermal features may be scalding and/or very acidic," explains the NPS. "Also, thermal water can harbor microorganisms that can cause a fatal meningitis or Legionnaire’s disease."
The ground around hot springs and pools can also be surprisingly thin and fragile, with hot groundwater just below the surface.
Stay on the boardwalk
In 2016, a man from Oregon died after falling in the Norris Geyser Basin while looking for a warm pool to bathe in. The Norris Geyser Basin is Yellowstone's hottest water feature and unusually acidic. The man died almost immediately, but poor weather meant his body couldn't be recovered until the following morning, by which time all that remained was a pair of melted flip-flops.
Last year, a park employee found a human foot floating in the Abyss Pool. The remains were identified after Park Rangers found an abandoned car containing the man's ID and travel itinerary, but it's not known how he ended up in the water.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
By Cat Ellis