WATCH: Yellowstone National Park Ranger Goes Fishing for a Lost Hat in a Geyser

by Lauren Boisvert

A Yellowstone National Park tour group came upon a strange sight recently. It started when they approached the boardwalk surrounding Excelsior Geyser Crater, which sits in the Midway Geyser Basin. When the group stepped up to the viewing area, they found a park ranger going fishing in the dormant geyser. But, he wasn’t looking for fish. He was actually fishing for a lost hat.

Because the ecosystems in Yellowstone are so delicate, and just to preserve the environment in general, any foreign objects in the pools, geysers, and along the boardwalks are picked up if it’s safe to do so. There are, of course, thermal features, acidic pools, and active geysers all over the park, which is what makes it so special. So, safety comes first, but it’s important to work to preserve the incredible ecosystem. The main way to preserve the park is just for tourists to hang onto their stuff. Including their legs.

But, sometimes you lose a hat in a dormant geyser and a park ranger has to literally fish it out. The ranger had a fishing pole and was casting into the ominously steaming Excelsior Geyser Crater. A guide for Yellowstone Teton Tours, Darcy Lagana, took a video of the ranger attempting to hook the lost hat.

“It’s very common for hats to fly off there, but usually they just use a grabber, although they will always do what they’ve gotta do,” Lagano told USA Today. Lagano also mentioned that the ranger managed to retrieve the hat on his third try. Talk about skill.

Excelsior Geyser Crater is dormant but used to regularly erupt during the 19th century, ceasing somewhere around 1901. Now, it bubbles as an eternal hot spring, but in its heyday, its eruptions reached 300 feet in both height and width.

Yellowstone National Park Declares Wildfire Season, Has Already Contained 3 Fires

Wildfire season has begun in Yellowstone National Park. They have set the fire danger level to high. Additionally, they’re closely monitoring the park for additional wildfires after already working to contain three.

The first fire of the year in Yellowstone hit in July. Since then there has been one that started on August 16 and another on August 29. These three fires were contained before they managed to do too much damage to the park.

On July 20, the Obsidian Fire began in the Old Faithful parking lot when a vehicle caught fire. The flames from the vehicle caught in the nearby grass and then moved to burn a pine tree. Fire crews were able to suppress and clear the fire at only 0.1 acres, so there was not considerable damage done by Obsidian.

The next fire of the season came on August 16. The Telemark Fire was caused by a lightning strike west of U.S. Highway 191, near an area of the highway that runs through Yellowstone. The fire was 10 feet by 10 feet, contained no open flames, and was quickly cleared and monitored by a U.S. Forest Service fire crew.

Most recently, on August 29, the Gray Fire was ignited by lightning as well east of the Fawn Pass Patrol Cabin. This fire also burned only 0.1 acres before crews managed to clear it. There hasn’t been much damage in the park this fire season, but considering other fires that have raged across the western U.S., Yellowstone National Park isn’t taking any chances.