We Visited a National Park and a Ranger Brought Up Lynching

What should have been a carefree road trip turned ugly in an instant

Jasmin Joseph
ZORA

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Photo: Rawpixel/Getty

WWhile gearing up for my college graduation, my friends and I were struck with the idea of taking the Great American Road Trip. For the months prior, we began a planning spreadsheet. We would begin in Arizona and from there, cover much of the American West: Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, before winding up back in Arizona. Our plan was ambitious, expensive, and to many of our friends and family, rife with potential dangers. So, with a grain of salt, we heeded their warnings and set off with our backpacks and degrees.

“Yeah, that bear would have lynched you girls had you gone down there.”

We were about two weeks in when we crossed from Montana to Wyoming, where we planned to enter Yellowstone National Park. On this first day at Yellowstone, we were determined to see geysers at Black Sands Pool, which is slightly over a one-mile round-trip from the Old Faithful Visitor Center. While the National Parks Service (NPS) has made it quite easy for many of the major sites to be accessible by driving, we found it was often more fun and more convenient to leave the car parked in one area…

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Jasmin Joseph
ZORA
Writer for

NY-born, LA-based writer. Allegedly writing an essay collection called Black Cowgirl. Allegedly. Twitter:@jazzyhuncho.