National Parks Tour: So Many Bison!

Monday, September 6, 2021

This morning I told Chuck I would meet him at 7:00 at the Lodge restaurant when it opens for breakfast. I wanted to walk around the area and see if I could get some photos of some early morning animals. First animal I saw was a young buck just crossing the road.

Then, I walked past the pavilion and saw 3 bison eating in a field near the church. I stayed on the footbridge and used my telephoto lens. I was the only one out there and I was getting great pictures of the 3 bison. Yay me! I was so smug. I bet nobody else was going to get as close today as I did.

I have been trying to say bison instead of buffalo. Al told us the difference between bison and buffalo –

Have a humpNo hump
Small, sharp hornsMedium, sharp horns
Thick fur and thick beardLight fur and no beard
Native to North and South America & EuropeNative to Africa
Used for meat, clothing, weapons, and shelterUsed for meat

Met Chuck at the Lodge a few minutes before 7:00 Breakfast service at the Lodge was slow. They had a buffet but were still trying put items out at 7:00. They only had one person serving coffee. We just ended up getting one of the carafes and serving ourselves.

Once we got our breakfast, I was excited to tell Chuck about the 3 bison and I was two bites into my breakfast when someone yelled “herd of buffalo outside.” I abandoned my breakfast and grabbed my camera.

I went outside and was awestruck. There were hundreds coming down the road and running and walking through our parking lot heading for the same field that I saw the first three. I snapped off quite a few pictures before I decided to go back to my breakfast. So much for my smugness.

Once we finished eating and walking back to our room, more bison came down the road, and more, and more. Most people estimated 500 in all. Some stopped in the parking lot and ate on some of the bushes and grass. Most walked through and went to the field near the church or the field across the street.

Some cars honked at the bison that were in the street to get them to move. If I were in a Prius, I don’t think I would have honked at an animal bigger than my car.

We also had a member of our group wander down to the parking lot and stand by a small group of trees to watch the bison go by him. A number of people were yelling at him that he was too close (we had been warned numerous times by Al and the park literature). A really large bison spotted him, came close and was snorting.

Just then, a park official came driving up in a jeep and got between the man and the bison and told the man to get back to the porch. I think Al would have fainted if he had seen the man. I wonder if anyone reported it to him?

We watched the bison until it was time to go to the bus which was parked behind another building at the Lodge.

As I got one last look at the hundreds of bison in the field, I wonder what I would have done while I was photographing the three and then heard the thundering of all the hooves behind me. I don’t know if I would have frozen on the footbridge or jumped into the little creek and run toward the woods. Glad I didn’t have to choose.

Next up – Crazy Horse Memorial

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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