Friday, July 15, 2016

Yellowstone NP: An Inundation of Bison

After Glacier, we dropped south to Yellowstone for a day, led by our longing to see the Lamar Valley again.

We stayed overnight in West Glacier, then crossed the park via Mammoth Hot Springs and Blacktail Plateau Drive, and up the valley toward Cooke City with several stops to soak it all in again. Lamar is sometimes described as the Serengeti of North America. Tiny compared to that lush land in Tanzania, nor a one-hundredth so diverse, it is still awesome in its lushness and beauty. Habitat for several hundred bison, and elk, pronghorns, mule and white-tailed deer, moose and many smaller mammals,  and the wolves, coyotes and bears that depend upon them for a livelihood.

We checked into our room in Cooke City, ate dinner and then drove back into the Park to see what the evening would reveal that mid-day hid.

Almost immediately we were rewarded, if that is what one wants to call it, with amazement and horror in equal doses. A substantial group of bison were on the march up the road, and then another close behind the first. One could only wait until they passed. They parted to go by our car. Other motorists were in similar situations up and down the road.

Then for an hour we drove along the valley as the shadows lengthened.

Heading back home for the night, here came those bison again, the groups having turned around, joined and seemed to have located a couple hundred others along the way. We were caught with a long group of vehicles for a long time. No harm was done to the car, though we were imagining what would happen if one of them spooked and came through the windshield. Memories of bisons' great beauty, along with their size and the herd mentality, will last a long, long time.

When we asked about the behavior the next day, someone said, "they do that." Also, we learned that they have occasionally passed the park gates and come into the town en masse. 


  1. They are amazing, magnificent animals. Thank God humans stopped hunting them.