Posts Tagged ‘hot springs’

In the city, brake lights are generally a source of frustration and possibly road rage. In Yellowstone, brake lights mean one of two things: a traffic jam, probably due to construction, or animal sightings. All too often, they’re the former, but during this trip we were extremely lucky and only came to a few places where there was construction. An added bonus was not getting behind any RV’s, which make both seeing anything and passing them impossible. Choosing to visit on a Monday was a good choice.

After driving alongside Yellowstone Lake, a gigantic body of water, we came to our first string of vehicles and brake lights.  Glancing hopefully ahead, we saw buffalo on either side of the road, with a few emerging from a nearby lake.  We’d spotted a solitary buffalo (strictly speaking, a bison) earlier, but this was a group of thirty or forty and they were not only on either side, but crossing the road.

People were outside their vehicles, which stretched in both directions, as well as heading towards the main herd, while a park ranger tried to keep order and safely.  One of the leaflets handed out when you enter the park warns you to keep at least 100 yards away from animals, but people tend to ignore the suggestion.  We’ve seen people getting very close to have their pictures taken, not realizing that although the buffalo seem tame, they are wild animals that can run at speed and have gigantic heads complete with horns.  As the buffalo began moving in our direction, the ranger yelled at everyone to return to their vehicles, which they actually did.  The sight of an animal whose head is half the size of a large man can tend to have that effect.

The buffalo began to walk between vehicles and, as you can see from my pictures, they got rather close.  We could have put our hands out and touched more than one and there couldn’t have been more than an inch or two between a potential buffalo robe and the front of the van more than once.  It was as close as we could have gotten without going buffalo riding or giving one of the van seats to an animal.  Some of the males were making noises that were a cross between a pig and a cow, making them sound as if they were complaining about all the gawkers.