This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sitting on a balcony at the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone Park watching tourists and geysers offered a quiet moment of introspection.
Yellowstone is an interesting place to people watch. Numerous languages are spoken and visitors react to the wildlife and thermal features in such interesting ways.
What was most noticeable is what could be called "the selfie revolution." Selfie sticks were everywhere as travelers used their phones to document themselves in front of Old Faithful or a herd of bison.
It almost seemed as though documenting the event was more important than actually watching it. It wasn't enough to simply quietly contemplate the eruption of the Old Faithful, Beehive or Daisy Geysers, all amazing natural wonders. People had to prove they were there.
Then I looked at my own iPhone. I had taken a photo of Old Faithful and tweeted it out.
I realized that, due to Yellowstone's mercifully limited cell phone coverage, I couldn't wait to find a hot spot.
There was coverage at Old Faithful. So, instead of watching the amazing scene surrounding me, I immediately checked my email and Twitter account and got on The Tribune website to see what was happening at home.
Then it hit me. I had become a slave to that phone. I needed to discipline myself to put it away and forget about it, instead simply taking in nature on my own terms and enjoying the technology-free quiet.
There has to be a happy medium somewhere, where we use technology to preserve a nice memory or to occasionally check in with loved ones at home. But we need to have the discipline not to check it every few minutes and realize that the world will go on with or without us knowing the latest football score or presidential poll.
In the end, the beauty and wonder of Yellowstone should be more than enough.