This is painful to watch. For so many reasons. And like most touron incidents in Yellowstone National Park, it comes from someone who knows better. So much so, in fact, that this particular touron tells viewers not do what she is doing as she does it herself.
There is no finding logic in this. And in my years of naturalist writing, I’ve sincerely tried to refrain from judging people. We all make mistakes, right? Myself included (tenfold). But this, this is something else. So I’ll let Tourons of Yellowstone say it: “Idiots all around us…”
In what is one of the worst videos ever filmed in America’s first national park, this visitor – a self-professed vlogger – narrates herself as she places her fingers into a potentially-deadly Yellowstone hot spring. Yes, really.
I’ll refrain from naming her here, but be warned that her narration is NSFW. The comments are, however, and they’re gold.
“What up, TikTokers. I am coming from you live from Yellowstone,” she begins as she films herself. From her slurs, repeated words, and actions in general, I can only assume she was inebriated at the time of filming this.
“We found a little geyser, and we about to touch this b*tch,” she continues with utmost class. “I do not suggest you do this. It is harmful,” she adds right before doing it herself. If you come to Yellowstone, I do not suggest you do this. Do it for the Vine,” she says as one of her equally ill-advised friends eggs her on with the same phrase. Is Vine even still a thing?
The touron then proceeds to place her own fingers into the boiling spring, pulling them out as she lets loose multiple expletives about how “hot” it is.
How Hot ARE Yellowstone National Park Geysers and Hot Springs, You Ask?
As we all know, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a highly active geothermal area. It is chock-full of hot springs, geysers, vents, and everything that comes with. And as USGS cites, Yellowstone hot spring water emerges at ~92°C or ~198°F. This is the boiling point of water at Yellowstone’s mean altitude.
While waters may appear flat and calm in some springs (like the one featured in this Tourons of Yellowstone mishap above), it is boiling hot. Touching flesh to any of these waters induces immediate burning, with multiple tragedies occurring in the national park as a result. So hot are these waters, in fact, that they can dissolve an entire human body.
Responses to the woman’s wildly dangerous stunt include “Ban her from all National Parks” to “Really wished her finger dissolved.” And while I certainly don’t wish bodily harm on any other human being, Yellowstone visitors seem incapable of following park regulations and laws.
Jail Time & Fines Await Tourons
If anyone ever asks, remind them that hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone National Park (YELL) than any other natural feature. “Boardwalks and trails protect you and delicate thermal formations. Water in hot springs can cause severe or fatal burns, and scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust around hot springs,” the park states.
The following YELL regulations are in place to keep us all safe:
- Swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited: More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs. Do not touch any thermal features or runoff
- Toxic gases may accumulate to dangerous levels in some hydrothermal areas: If you begin to feel sick while exploring one of our geyser basins, leave the area immediately
- Always walk on boardwalks and designated trails: Keep children close and do not let them run on boardwalks
- Pets are prohibited in thermal areas, period
- Do not throw objects into hot springs or other hydrothermal features
Not only are these regulations to be abided by, failing to do so is a crime. Jail time, steep fines, and banning from the park are all on the table for those who can’t follow these simple rules.
For more park safety, see our Yellowstone National Park Safety: Best Practices to Safely Explore the First National Park next.