That live and learn thing? Apparently it doesn’t apply to me. I had been told by Karen that it was going to be an especially busy weekend, what with a Mormon holiday and their tradition of heading to the Tetons to celebrate. Then there was my cousin who told me that I really ought to think about running ideas for things to do past her before I plunge ahead. She has learned a few things in 30 years of living here, she said. Even my uncle’s admonition of being in long lines of traffic moving at 4 mph as you travel through Yellowstone didn’t come to mind.
Which is how I found myself heading into Yellowstone, not realizing that it was Saturday at first, aiming for Mammoth Hot Springs and hoping to cut to the east to the Lamar Valley and see some wildlife. I hadn’t actually been the driver before, I was the passenger who was enjoying the view when Charley and I took our trip here in 1992. And Karen had driven when she and I recently visited. The drive is a bit harder than I realized, not so much time to sight-see. And I knew my goal was a long way north so I didn’t stop at the places I’d recently been to. With road construction it took a long time, and I was tired when I got there. And I was already dreading the drive back and thinking I’d turn right around.
Except the landscape was so pretty, and the town was charming. And busy, the road was packed with cars, all looking for parking spaces. There were long lines at the general store and the restaurant. Plus the side walks were full of families, all heading in one direction or another. And elk. Elk on the lawns, grazing. Elk across the street grazing, and crossing the street periodically. And one young ranger trying to get the people to keep their distances from the elk. They were pushing their baby carriages right past the elk on the lawn, probably 10 feet away. I felt for that ranger, he had his work cut out for him as the elk moved their position and it was people who had to be herded, rather than elk.
There were hold-ups on the way back too. A lone buffalo in the road that I had to pass just feet away from the car. I didn’t get that picture. Another lone buffalo was positioned perfectly for me to get out and get a picture and not be too close. Karen told me that the males were keeping separate from the herd these days. Soon it will be ‘rutt’ season and that is something to see she said. I’m sure it is. Nature, just carrying on…