The Calcite Springs Overlook treats visitors to awe-inspiring panoramas of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. This location is a magnet for photographers seeking that perfect shot. However, this week, one visitor took it a step too far, throwing caution to the wind by crossing the safety railing and taking a seat on the edge while vaping, all in the pursuit of the ideal photo opportunity.
This incident was witnessed and recorded by another park-goer, Frazer Hilliard, an avid snowboarder. Hilliard later shared the incident on the Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, a platform dedicated to highlighting irresponsible behavior and mishaps in US National Parks.
The woman’s recklessness brought her perilously close to the canyon’s precipice, causing Hilliard to fear she might inadvertently fall in when she eventually stood up.
While safety railings are in place in certain areas of Yellowstone, the responsibility for one’s safety ultimately rests with the visitors. Yellowstone visitors are encouraged to exercise caution, watch their step, and stay on dry, stable paths and solid rock surfaces, as outlined in the National Park Service’s comprehensive hiking safety guide.
The National Park Service advises, “Take your time, exercise vigilance, and be mindful of your surroundings, particularly when navigating slippery areas or being near cliffs.”
As for the geological marvel that is Calcite Springs, it is an area that is strictly off-limits to visitors. However, the overlook provides a privileged vantage point from above. Deep underground fractures in the rock release oil deposits that slowly make their way to the surface. Moreover, the springs are so hot that they liquefy sulfur deposits, causing them to ooze out and turn black as they oxidize.
This region is adorned with stunning white calcite and golden barite crystals, and there are even yellow sulfur crystals concealed within the conduits of the springs. The visual spectacle is truly extraordinary, although it is accompanied by the expected sulfurous odor.