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Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Hendersonville, NC
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Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Hey TA's,

Yes, it's me again. Just when I had practically every detail nailed down for my 31-day road trip out West in Sept. 2012, I'm now starting to re-think one big aspect of the trip: my two days at Grand Teton and three days at Yellowstone.

I realize I'll get ripped for this, and probably deservedly so, but here's the deal: I'm getting a bit tired of all this concern over the issue of grizzlies at GT and Yellowstone and, honestly, it's slowly but surely sapping away my excitement for that part of the trip. Seems like every other TA thread I read addresses the concern for bears while hiking. I mean, I was all excited for a sunrise photo shoot at Schwabacher Landing, until reading that it is a prime spot for bears and that people need to be very careful here.

Since the point of vacation is to relax, what's the point in walking around constantly worried and looking anxiously around every corner, wondering if I'm going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffer a horrible fate? I know fatal bear attacks are rare, but bear attacks overall seem to be more frequent than people realize, as I continue to read. I know all about being smart and cautious, but you can be smart and cautious as that couple last month was, but if you round a corner and mama is with her cubs, it's all over.

So here's my question: After leaving Yellowstone, I'm scheduled to spend three days in Portland/Hood River, and then one day driving down the Oregon coast from Portland to Northern California. Since these areas also warrant more time than what I'm giving them (especially only one day driving the coast), should I scrap the Grand Teton/Yellowstone part of my trip and add those five days onto Portland and the Coast? I was so looking forward to seeing the spectacular Tetons and all the wonders of Yellowstone (and have even booked, and paid for, my three nights in Yellowstone), but am wondering if I can make better use of my time by immersing myself more in Portland/Hood River/Mount Hood and adding a couple days to my coast drive rather than hike in constant fear of bears (not to mention the added hassle of crowds, and possible snow/road closures).

I know the decision is mine, and I'm still leaning slightly toward keeping my itinerary as is, but would value the opinions of you folks who have been to these places to help me put everything in better perspective.

Thanks so much.

Davie, Florida
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1. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Yellowstone has over 2 million visitors a year and I am certain a few survive the experience. How much you are willing to allow fear to drive your decision is completely up to you. There is no place on earth as jaw dropping as yellowstone.

Wednesbury, UK
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2. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Please don't put off your visit to Yellowstone over the minisule possibility of a dangerous bear encounter. As Katzgar says, 2 million visitors, including us, go there each year and very very few have any problems and probably the vast majority don't give any thought to bear hazards.

We actively go looking for bears on our trips there. We take what we consider are adequate precautions if we go hiking, but don't let it spoil our enjoyment of such a wondeful place.

When ever you go there, (if you don't go this time), unless its the middle of winter the bears wil be present. So will the Bison and the Elk and frankly, they are a much more likely source of problems, given the way many visitors treat them with such little respect.

Edited: 15 August 2011, 08:01
Wednesbury, UK
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3. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Please don't put off your visit to Yellowstone over the minisule possibility of a dangerous bear encounter. As Katzgar says, 2 million visitors, including us, go there each year and very very few have any problems and probably the vast majority don't give any thought to bear hazards.

We actively go looking for bears on our trips there. We take what we consider are adequate precautions if we go hiking, but don't let it spoil our enjoyment of such a wonderful place.

When ever you go there, (if you don't go this time), unless its the middle of winter the bears wil be present. So will the Bison and the Elk and frankly, they are a much more likely source of problems, given the way many visitors treat them with such little respect.

Edited: 15 August 2011, 08:01
Uden, The...
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4. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Never miss Yellowstone.

Ohio
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5. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

personally-- I'd stay with Yellowstone. If it were me, I'd simply change my plans and get those sunrise photos in a spot where I felt safer. I'm not big into hiking, so not sure how important that is to you, but trust me--- there's photo ops everywhere you turn. You do not need to wander off the beaten path for them. Not only that, you'll find the park quiet at that time of year. You won't need to go far to get away from people. The only busy spots we found were at the Old Faithful and Canyon village areas.

You can also find out from the rangers where the bear activity has been (not that that is a guarantee)

Iowa
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6. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Don't miss Yellowstone/Grand Teton! I think you'll really regret it.

If it makes you feel better, I've been to Yellowstone twice and never once even spotted a bear:-). And it wasn't for lack of trying. I'm really hoping we see one when we return in 2013 (from the safety of our vehicle, of course;-).

Hendersonville, NC
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7. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Thanks everyone. I felt a little guilty/embarrassed after posting my question, but maybe was hoping in the back of my mind that your comments would reassure my decision to keep the Grand Teton/Yellowstone part of my trip. Like you said, I'm sure I would regret it.

Having said that, I'm still concerned, and a little bummed that an exciting vacation will be filled with nervous hiking - hand clutched to bear spray. I definitely won't be doing any long hikes deep in the woods, nor any super-early morning ezxcursions where no one else is around. Then again, since the Canyon/Falls are the things I'm looking forward to most, in addition to Old Faithful and the geysers, I'm sure I won't even come close to being alone at any point.

And, having said all that, I am an animal/nature lover and am hoping for wildlife viewing to be one of the highlights of the trip. If it's a bear, though - as you said, Kren - I want to see one from the car and NOT the trail.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

I am agreeing with all above- do not miss Yellowstone/Grand Tetons- it will be the highlight of your trip!!

Nederland, Colorado
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9. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

To put it in perspective... the odds of having a car accident driving cross country are so much higher than being attacked by a bear in one of the parks. That isn't going to dissuade you from driving, is it?

Edited: 16 August 2011, 02:42
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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10. Re: Yellowstone/Grand Teton vs. Portland/Columbia River/Coast

Just for you, mtnwriter ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alPmPSls-9s