Old Faithful, one of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous geysers is most certainly a beautiful sight to see. It’s also incredibly dangerous. But, that didn’t stop two tourists from ignoring all the rules last week and approaching the geyser anyway.
According to park officials, two men were spotted on video approaching the geyser on Tuesday. Other bystanders captured the scene, where the two men reportedly crossed over the protection fence and even put their face over the geyser’s opening. Thankfully, the men were caught and now face charges of “thermal trespassing,” according to KRTV.
"So this happened this past Tuesday at Old Faithful,” Kimberly Guilliams, a fellow tourist, shared on a Yellowstone Facebook page. “They even leaned more over the opening but just didn't get a photo. They were caught, reports were filed and I submitted photos to the Park Ranger. We were in total disbelief and the complete stupidity of these guys."
Guilliams further spoke with Good Morning America about the incident. She shared she “...couldn't believe what was happening,” adding, “They just didn't care and we couldn't believe that they thought that that was OK.”
As KRTV also noted, the Yellowstone National Park website is rather clear about the dangers of approaching the geyser. The Yellowstone website notes, “Burns from thermal features are a common cause of serious injury and death in the park. Check at a ranger station before you go exploring. Foot travel in all thermal areas must be confined to boardwalks or maintained trails that are marked by official signs. Don’t approach or shortcut through geyser basins after dark when there is greater danger of stepping into a hot spring. For your safety and for the protection of thermal features in Yellowstone, it is illegal to swim or bathe in any water that is entirely of thermal origin. Hot springs contain algae, bacteria, and fungi found nowhere else in the world: soaking or wading in springs can destroy these life forms.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time a tourist has behaved badly at Old Faithful. In August, another tourist was caught on video shamefully approaching the geyser as other onlookers begged him to move away.
Still not convinced it’s dangerous to do this? Here are a few facts previously shared by Travel + Leisure that may convince you. During one of its regular eruptions, the geyser spews some 3,700 gallons of water up to 184 feet in the air. When it erupts, water comes out at about 204 degrees Fahrenheit with steam temperatures up to 350 degrees. And, perhaps most importantly, Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature.
So, moral of the story, stay behind the fence. Trust us, it’s just as enjoyable to watch from there.