The day after our mining adventure in Helena Montana, we headed for the North entrance of Yellowstone. We had planned our route cross country based mostly on national parks, geology and a vow to wander as much as possible.
Having set out at the very brink of spring; the West entrance to the park was the only other gate open and it had only been open a day.
Snow still covered the park in some areas and the springs steamed in the cool air.
We had no real idea where we were going, just that we wanted to see wildlife, water and geysers in whatever order they came. Driectly after passing the stone arch of randomness we got to the ranger’s station and were presented with this ominous flyer:
This was going to be a good day! I think this is the best thing I have ever been handed in a national park.
Rounding the bend above the little town center we stopped dead in the middle of the road (we were lucky the park was almost empty during our visit) both of our jaws on the floor as this grazed 15 feet from the truck.
Holy crap! That’s a Fu*king buffalo! It didn’t take much note of us, until Pele started barking uncontrollably, through the window at the quadruped. I have no idea what her deal was. It was as if she took offense to the sight on some basic premiss.
In my head she sounded thus- “Hey you!!! You’re not a cow! You look like a cow, but you don’t smell like one. EXPLAIN YOURSELF NOT COW! Why are you as big as the truck?!”
Not waiting for answers to her doggie questions we continued on. Pele whined disconsolately, Honey looked nonplussed at her pack-mate’s behavior.
A little farther down the road we came to these amazing mineral pools/hot springs.
We challenged each other to a photo contest (good thing we are not competitive people.) Him with his iPhone and me with the little digital.
Subject matter was everywhere and we both happily clicked the day away.
The mineral pools and hot springs were etherial.
We made our way down to catch Old Faithful. We lucked out and parked only 20 min before the show, took off our shoes.
Made a new friend.
Waited, and were rewarded:
By then it was getting late and we were going to backtrack so we could leave and find a place to stay the night. We got back on the road headed North. Halfway to the exit the little traffic there was, came to a stop.
The road was covered with buffalo.
It was amazing, but a little nerve wracking after the aforementioned yellow flyer. Pele started to bark and then as it become more apparent we were in the middle of them she fell ominously silent.
We drove on, they walked on.
Finally (and thanks to some impatient delivery truck drivers who know the secret is to maintain a slow steady pace and the bison will get our of the way,) we got moving again.
This is when our day took a turn toward WTF?!
Pele had been quietly shaking throughout the whole ordeal and how stated whining and turning circles in the back seat. Her little crooked tail pointing behind her, a sure sign she had to do some doggie business.
At this point there was no shoulder on the road and no sooner had I reported to the pilot that a stop was looking necessary, Pele gave one final whimper and squatted inches from Honey’s increasingly indigent face.
What came out was not a regular bowel movement, it was premature defication of tremendous proportions. Honey took one sideways glance at this offensive situation occurring in her space and launched herself into the front seat.
I still have no idea how, in two quick movements, she landed with her front legs on the floor of the paganger’s side. Her head cranked back on my knee and her hindquarters on the center consul.
The look in her eyes needed no translation. “I know I’m not supposed to be in the front seat, but I am NOT going back there with her!!! Did you see that!?! HOW RUDE!”
Seconds later Pele launched herself on top of the pile now forming in my lap with a more confused and embarrassed expression. I laughed so hard I almost had an accident of my own during the five minutes it took to find a spot to pull off the road and clean up the buffalo inspired mess.
They had literally scared the sh*t out of her.
She has never done anything like it since. THANK GOD! Then again; it was the last time we were up close to a buffalo so…
We made our way out of the park, past some elk.
More breathtaking vistas.
And, yes, more bison.
I marveled at this example of what time and pressure can achive, even to something as large and seemingly solid as stone.
To me, it matched our current situation and what we would be trying to accomplish in the coming years. Slowly by slowly we grew ever closer to the opposite side of the country and the future of our family.
The girls were bushed but back in their seats as we rolled East.
What a day!