We left Mammoth Hot Springs and headed into the heart of Yellowstone. If you missed that blog about the hot springs, click here and see my obsession with the cone.
Today we had planned to visit Lamar Valley, a must see for anyone visiting the park. One of the things to remember when visiting Yellowstone is that you are on the park’s schedule. This is truly a wild place and you have to adapt yourself to any and all things that occur in the natural world. That being said, we were hungry and anxious to get into the valley and cook a delicious lunch. Good thing we had some snacks to stave our hunger pangs.
We’re heading down the road enjoying the beauty and wonder of this majestic park when all of a sudden the traffic stops. Traffic jams in a large city or even your small town can be a nuisance & cause stress & anxiety. Getting in a traffic jam in the middle of Yellowstone is quite something else. Granted, there were roads under construction in the park and we chose to avoid those areas. It’s a great idea to check with the Park Ranger when you enter the park to get the 411 on what’s going on with road crews. We had been stopped for several minutes and were very hungry at this point. We thought of every possible scenario as to why traffic was stopped when we started to move slowly forward. We were creeping, but we were not moving much. As the cars creeped around the corner on the downslope of a hill, traffic stopped again and we could finally see why.
What a site! This traffic jam wasn’t due to road repairs or an accident. Nope, this was the boss of the plains! BISON HAVE THE RIGHT-A-WAY! PERIOD! I was in Buffalo Heaven. Couldn’t believe it! Seeing bison and getting a nice shot of one (or a few) was on our bucket list for this park and this crossing gave us our first “up close and personal” look. And wow….what a look! These majestic animals grazed pass us less than 8 feet from where I sat in the minivan.
When travelling, often times, you will see a yellow diamond shaped sign that has an animal on it (Deer or Bison for example) with the large words “CROSSING” on them. You almost never see anything. Like, they are going to take that exact path at that moment like a traffic cop stopping you right then. Animals don’t work that way, but it is good to be aware so we don’t smash our car.
In Yellowstone, you always have to be aware of all wild creatures as they don’t follow the same traffic laws as us humans. Know the signs are everywhere, even when there isn’t a yellow diamond reminding you of such things. The bison just step out onto the road with their entire herd in tow. This wasn’t our only bison crossing while visiting the park on our 10 day vacation. It is quite common & thrilling each & every time. But your first time…..well, I’ll just leave it at that.
Best advise for visiting Yellowstone National Park is to have a loose schedule because there will be delays from time to time. Enjoy those remarkable moments that may have you running a little late. Even if you’re hungry and late for lunch. After all, you are on vacation, so soak it all in & enjoy what nature has to offer. Today was the perfect example that this amazing park belongs to the animals that live there and we were lucky to have them share it with us. Open your eyes and feel the magic in whatever it is you are doing!