massive bull bison yellowstone

Being in Yellowstone is sort of like being in Jurassic Park to me, for two reasons: first are the exotic species that don’t live back east, and second because they own the park. We are the visitors on their turf and the Park Service is relentless in reminding us of that fact.

The Park Service knows the animal’s territories and they do a fantastic job anticipating where they are likely to appear from day to day. You can always tell there’s an animal encounter ahead by the traffic jams that form for half a mile on either side. Rangers do a great job allowing people enough time to see the animals while keeping the traffic crawling along so everyone gets their turn.

Two wildlife encounters come to mind from the five days my husband and I were in this wildlife-rich park. First, was a mother black bear and her twins not fifty feet from the road romping through the trees, whacking off bark looking for insects to eat. They couldn’t have cared less that a hoard of people were spellbound by their every move. Black bears at Yellowstone (video) doesn’t do our little encounter justice, but here it is.

Second, was in the parking lot of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, where a ranger had roped off an area by the restrooms with caution tape and was standing guard. I crept up close enough to see a big bull bison taking a sunbath with all his parts shining up to the sky.

Buffalo sunbathing

Here he is, right by the bathrooms acting like he owns the place. OK, he does.

Animals can remind us what fun it is to just go with the flow. Maybe today you’ll do just that. If so, will you let me know how it felt?