Though she is old and she is faithful, the famous geyser at Yellowstone National Park -- yes, the one named Old Faithful -- is undeniably dangerous. With eruptions that spew water and steam that can reach 350 degrees, it's important that visitors remain on paths and appreciate her stoic beauty from afar. For context, water boils at 212 degrees so that steam will literally steam you alive.
One recent visitor, unfortunately, didn't follow the park rules and ended up with severe burns from the geyser's surrounding hot springs. On September 29, Cade Edmond Siemers fell into thermal waters after venturing off the path in the dark of night without bringing a flash light, according to a press release from the National Park Service.
First of all, the number one rule is to stay on the path. Secondly, when walking in a national park in the dark of night, one should always carry a flashlight lest they'd like to end up in a steaming pool or have a dangerous encounter with wild animals. Additionally, rangers also determined alcohol use was a factor in this incident -- a combination that very well could have been lethal.
Siemers was flown to and treated at a burn center in Idaho Falls and is lucky to have escaped with his life. As the National Park Service explains, there have been 121 drowning deaths and 21 deaths involving burns since the establishment of Yellowstone as the world's first national park in 1872. A few years ago, one man reportedly dissolved in an acidic hot pot bath located in the park's Norris Geyser Basin.
In addition to being wildly dangerous, leaving the boardwalk and trampling on the geysers also damages the national park. The ground around the hydrothermal features of Yellowstone can easily crack and break due to their relatively thin nature, and just beneath the surface is absurdly hot water.
So if you find yourself at Yellowstone just remember to follow (what seems like common sense) rules enforced by the park rangers: stay on the path, don't wander in the dark, and don't drink.