The changing seasons were evident. The temperatures had plummeted below zero over night and the air stung crisp with autumn. We could only imagine how refreshing a hike here would be, but imagining was all we had time for, we had to be at our accommodation and checked in before 9.30pm. The plan was to shoot through straight to West Yellowstone and check in well in advance of sunset, then start exploring Yellowstone Park secure in the knowledge that we had somewhere to sleep (even if it were cruddy!)
Onwards and northwards – we entered Yellowstone’s South Entrance and didn’t bother stopping for the photo of the park sign since there was a line of people waiting to get their pictures taken with it! This was indeed a taste of things to come.
Bison can see best in a field of vision 180 degrees from the sides of their heads and not very well straight in front of them thus they lack the binocular vision that their predators need to judge distance to catch prey. Many animals that are prey have this attribute. It means they can watch for predators that may try to sneak up on them. However, it makes it hard for them to read the signs that are posted to tell you stay on the boardwalks and off the possibly super-heated hydro-thermal areas!
We two humans, possibly the only ones crazy enough to be out in such frigid temperatures – it was now below freezing- had the boardwalks to ourselves to watch steam venting, sun setting and moon rising.
Satisfied that we’d milked enough excitement out of our first day, we headed for our apartment. Before we got too far along the road west from Madison, the traffic ground to a halt. We crawled along, chatting contentedly, not in any hurry. Obviously we weren’t the only creatures feeling this way. Further up, we saw blue flashing lights and began to worry that some poor creature had come a cropper on the road. Eventually we discovered the cause of the traffic jam… A single Bison, walking straight up the road along the yellow lines, with his very own police escort!
Every so often he’d zig-zag off course as his poor eyesight revealed alien creatures with big shiny eyes! It was, for us, the funniest traffic jam ever!