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Yellowstone Park Fires

September 18, 1988

As one of the few people around who first visited Yellowstone Park in 1925, I feel heartsick at what has happened there. However, I will never forget the thrill of my first visit there as a 10-year-old child with my grandparents.

We left the Glendale train station on July 4, 1925, for a two-night journey up the Pacific Coast on the Southern Pacific to Seattle, where we changed trains to the Northern Pacific. After overnight on the train we were met in Gardner, Mont., by the Yellowstone Park Co. with its open-air buses for a four-day journey through the park.

What excitement for a 10-year-old! The first night at Mammoth Lodge we could view the bears feeding on the garbage from the lodge and hotel. This was a common practice in those days. First to feed were the brown bears and their cubs. As soon as the grizzly bears appeared, however, the brown bears would scurry up a tree and wait until the grizzlies had their fill, only descending when they were sure the danger was over.

Our second night was spent at Old Faithful Lodge after spending the day viewing the many geysers and wildlife along the route. We did eat a lot of dust because, while good, the roads were not paved. Around many bends in the road bears would be waiting for their handouts of food. The ultimate sight of that day and night was Old Faithful itself.

Our third night's stop was at Yellowstone Lake Lodge where we were treated to nature's violent electrical storm. Being native Californians we had experienced lightning at times but nothing like that storm. The whole lake was illuminated at times and the chain lightning was terrifying to us.

The last and final night of our tour was spent at Canyon Lodge. As a final treat, the young college students who spent their summers working for the company, put on a delightful show for the guests.

I feel sad that it will be a long time before the people of our country can see Yellowstone as it was then and in the 30-plus trips I have made to that wonderful area since then.

CARMELA SCHMIDT

San Marino

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