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7/31/02 - Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, despite millions of visitors each year, continues to maintain its untamed feel, with vast landscapes of craggy mountains, sweeping fields and upland forests inhabited by only the creatures of the wild. While signs abound warning visitors to avoid the bears and bison, it is the mule deer that has somehow escaped notice of the careful rangers who post such notices. While many of the majestic beasts of this beautiful, misty place hide their wildness under a docile eye, the mule deer attacked with aggression and primeval fighting spirit, pinning my torso to one of the park's mighty pine trees. These trees can grow up to 120 feet and live over 100 years, the EMT staffers told me. When you visit, keep in mind that the nearest medical center is more than 140 miles away, meaning that you might want to pack some earmuffs for the chilly airlift. While hunting is not allowed in the park, I was given a rare opportunity to take a souvenir of the visit home in the form of a small tip of antler that remains lodged inertly in my spleen.




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