The Bison & The Bus

Two Days Ago
Yellowstone National Park

 

We rode the scooter over to Lake Hotel for an early lunch and a look-around. The hotel is the oldest structure in the park, originally built in 1891. A short walk from the porch through a grassy meadow leads to the shore of Yellowstone Lake, where a century ago a steamboat ferried train passengers to the hotel from West Thumb.

 

On the path we spotted buffalo tracks, buffalo chips, and buffalo tree rubs where the bark is worn away from many a good back scratch. Way in the distance was a bull bison. Ta-Tonka!

Track
Chip
Tree Rub

Later in the day we took a tour in an iconic Yellowstone bus, newly refurbished with modern engine and tranny. Our guide, Nat, was well informed and drove us to spots where we watched herds of bison and elk. Yesterday Nat saw a lone wolf trotting unconcerned across the road – an unusual sighting as they typically travel in packs. He also told us that park employees call our campground Grizzly Central. Last week a bear was napping on the sidewalk where we checked in.

Bison are about the height of cattle, but stockier and broader. They use the park’s roadways as their trails – in fact, the roads were built on buffalo trail. Our bus was caught in a bison jam, the park version of a traffic snarl. Noble beasts were on both sides of the road, crossing intermittently. They don’t eyeball the cars or the people in them, they seemed unconcerned with our presence. But they do keep a sideways glance on the traffic. And should someone dare to pass them too closely, they’ll toss a shaggy head and snort.

 

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