Camping Above A Supervolcano

Could this supervolcano erupt under us? That’s what I’m thinking right now.

After a long day exploring Old Faithful and other attractions around Yellowstone National Park, the kids are finally passed out, Susie is reading, and the dog is crawled in a ball next to the kids’ feet. I look at all of them and think, “I can’t believe we’re still alive!”

The volcano under us hasn’t exploded!

Our campground sits inside one of the park’s live calderas – (a caldera is formed when a volcano’s underground magma chamber erupts collapsing the ground downwards, creating an oval-shaped rim. (source: LiveScience). So, Yes – this place erupted at least a few times in the past. And right now I can only imagine the worst.

Below our campsite, a massive magma chamber, 3 to 6 miles deep, and very much under high-pressure is ready to explode! Scientist say that an eruption is eminent. It’s like watching a stick of dynamite with a lit fuse and not running away! Are we crazy?

So I guess I’m a bit worried. (I shouldn’t have done all that research!)

Another scary fact about camping in YNP is aggressive bear behavior. They’re aggressive because we’re invading THEIR home and somehow tonight I’m thinking we shouldn’t be. They’re cute when you see them on TV catching leaping salmon and in zoos behind bars, looking peaceful, pathetic and bored. But folks around here say otherwise; they may be cute and cuddly, but these animals are people murderers – and deserve to be undisturbed.

Bear encounters are very dangerous and since it’s really hard to kill a bear with your bare hands – unless you’re Dale Petersen (click link)- protection is available by purchasing bear spray. Everyone carries it here, open-carry or concealed, use it for a any encounter, including spraying the kids if they jump out behind a tree unexpectedly. Park rangers give you a hard time if they don’t see your thumb on the spray trigger.

Our campsite, surrounded by trees with lots of shade and privacy is located in Grant Village, just southwest of Yellowstone lake – and it’s pretty awesome. Its 400 campsites require advance reservations, so make sure you jump online and reserve your spot soon. I’d hate to see people roughing it in the wild and get eaten by a bear.

Grant Village has on-site bathrooms, pay showers, a coin laundromat, shops and a gas station that nearby. It’s not necessarily roughing it, but you’re definitely reminded of the things we take for granted. It’s comforting knowing that a quick walk from my tent to the bathroom will take care of business.

Getting around the park takes a lot of driving, too. For example, a quick trip from Grant Village to Old Faithful is only 22 miles, and nearly 40 miles to Artist Point’s waterfall. It’s not far perse, but expect to triple your travel time because there’s just so much unexpected beauty. Basically, everyone’s in zombie-mode: in awe of the beauty around them, carrying cameras and getting dangerously close to wildlife. Expect to stop a lot!

Watching the kids and dog sleep, the wife relaxing over there, I’m actually thankful we’re here. This amazing place has been on my bucket list since I was a kid, and to experience its rivers, waterfalls, forests, hot springs and geysers – the views and wildlife around us – is definitely worth it. … So what if we’re blown to smithereens? Right now I’m happy we’re alive and camping Yellowstone!

As I lean over to turn off the light inside the tent, I conclude that I can’t let fear keep my family away from this awesome experience.

Old Faithful erupting around 1:30 p.m July, 2016

Grant Village campground, a perfect spot to get away and experience the best Yellowstone has to offer.

Firehole Canyon swimming hole. A hot spring mixes with the river’s cold water making it perfect to dip your butt in.

The place that pretty much started it all. Artist Point

Don’t touch! This bubbling hot spring will cook you in an instant.

Protected nature scenes like this one makes the trip more than worthwhile.

Kids getting their Yellowstone Junior Ranger badges.

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