OK, this didn’t occur in a National Park, but it’s too awesome to not include. It happened about 45-miles west of Yellowstone’s West Entrance.
A Washington triathlete staying at Cliff Lake in Madison County, Montana, was attacked Tuesday by a pair of otters while swimming, he said.
Stew Larsen, a chemical engineer from Longview, Washington, said Wednesday that he was staying at a resort near the lake south of Ennis for a family reunion when he decided to take advantage of the rare chance for a high-altitude training swim.
“I’ve never swam in a place that’s as wild as this place,” he said.
About 500 yards in to the out-and-back swim, Larsen said, he stopped to check his watch and noticed an otter staring him down from perhaps 10 feet away.
“It wasn’t barking, snapping, anything like that, just looking at me, so I kind of splashed and yelled,” he said.
The critter retreated, so he figured it was just curious and continued his swim.
On his return leg, though, Larsen said, he paused at about the same spot, only to see a pair of otters, even closer. And this time, his splashing didn’t scare them off.
“It didn’t deter them at all that time,” he said — even after he started making a “real commotion,” they closed in.
In the resulting waterborne scuffle, Larsen said he “connected with one of them” and ended up bitten on his right thigh, where an otter’s fangs cut through his wetsuit to draw a bit of blood.
“I had been thinking that if they’re protecting a den, I’d be better off in the middle of the water and away from the shore,” he said, “but I finally figured that if I’m going to be bitten, I need to be on land and I swam with everything that I had left.”
Eventually, he said, he was able to make it to some rocks, where the otters backed off and a relative in a boat was able to make a rescue.
[Local News Story]
Wow! What are the otters of that happening?
They are not as cute as they appear! Although rare, otter attacks have been reported elsewhere.
The otter’s name was not given, as it was not a significant otter.
Wednesday morning, June 28, 2017, a married couple received injuries after being “butted” by a bison at Mud Volcano, just north of Lake Village in Yellowstone National Park.
Theodore Schrader, 74, and Patsy Holmes, 72, from Heber City, Utah, were taking photographs on a boardwalk at Mud Volcano, when a bison approached them. The bison butted Mrs. Holmes, who then fell into Mr. Schrader and both individuals fell to the ground.
Park rangers responded immediately and evacuated the couple from the trail, a quarter mile, to the road. The couple was transported to the Lake Clinic. Mr. Schrader had minor injuries.
Mrs. Holmes was transported by Life Flight to Idaho Falls, Idaho. She was in stable condition. Citations were not issued to either individual.
This is the first confirmed incident of a bison injuring visitors in 2017.
At least it doesn’t sound like they were doing anything stupid, just wrong place, wrong time. Hope she’s OK.
Three more earthquakes shook an area near Yellowstone National Park early Friday morning.
The three early morning aftershocks came after an initial 4.5-magnitude quake occurred at 6:48 p.m. Thursday. It happened about 8 miles northeast of West Yellowstone. Nine earthquakes followed.
At 2:02 Friday, a 2.8-magnitude earthquake hit the same area. It was followed by a 2.7-magnitude quake at 6:40 a.m. and another one at 7:17 a.m.
The West Yellowstone Police Department says the initial earthquake was felt in the town that borders the park, but there were no reports of damage.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations said the quake was part of “an energetic sequence” of about 30 earthquakes in the area that began on Monday. Thursday’s quake was the largest to occur in Yellowstone since a 4.8-magnitude quake in March 2014.
Earthquakes occur frequently in and around Yellowstone.
In 1959, the Hebgen Lake earthquake near Yellowstone in Montana killed 28 people.
[Local News Story]
A 23-year-old kayak guide, Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant from Salt Lake City, Utah, died while attempting to rescue a client who capsized on Wednesday, June 14. The incident occurred in the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake. The kayaking group consisted of nine clients and three guides.
After receiving a call through the park’s dispatch center, rangers responded to the scene in a patrol boat and found Mr. Conant in the water. They brought him on board and immediately started CPR while in route back to the dock. CPR continued as Mr. Conant was transported to the helipad at Grant Village via ambulance (approximately ½-mile from the dock). A Life Flight landed to assist, but Mr. Conant was pronounced dead before taking off.
The client, who Mr. Conant attempted to save, was rescued by other guides in the group and brought to shore before rangers arrived on scene to help Mr. Conant. The client was transported to the park clinic and treated for hypothermia.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the United States that is above 7,000 feet. Its waters remain cool throughout the year, so hypothermia is a constant threat.
A 21-year-old man, Gervais Dylan Gatete from Raleigh, North Carolina, sustained severe burns after falling into a hot spring late on Tuesday, June 13. The incident occurred in the Lower Geyser Basin off of Fountain Flat Drive just north of the Old Faithful area. Mr. Gatete, currently an employee with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, was with seven other people when he fell.
After the incident, the group attempted to evacuate Mr. Gatete by car. Just before midnight, they flagged down a ranger near Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road. Park staff provided immediate medical assistance and transported the patient via ambulance to the airport in West Yellowstone. From there, he was flown to a hospital.
Yellowstone National Park officials are searching for a missing man near the park’s northern entrance.
The park said in a press release that Jeff Murphy, a 53-year-old from Illinois, was last seen near the Rescue Creek trailhead around 8 a.m. Wednesday. The park says Murphy had planned a day hike to Turkey Pen Peak.
The park has closed the Rescue Creek trail because of the search.
Murphy is described about 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. The release said he wears glasses and may be wearing khaki pants, a yellow T-shirt, navy pullover, a green and gray rain jacket, and an army green backpack.
Anyone with information about the man are encouraged to call the park at 307-344-2643.
UPDATE: JUNE 9
Today, park search crews located the body of Jeff Murphy who was missing near the park’s North Entrance. Mr. Murphy’s death appears to have resulted from a fall on Turkey Pen Peak.
At its peak, the search involved eight hiking teams, five dog teams, four horse teams, and a helicopter.