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Bev With Bison Buddy

Our next excursion after the Society of Animal Artists weekend completed was a drive up to Yellowstone National Park. ¬†The drive through southern Wyoming was rather boring. ¬†That is shale oil country and even the sage (which grows in very poor soil) was having a hard time growing. ¬†It was black with only a small amount of green showing in the tips of the leaves. ¬†Saw no liven g animals for miles. ¬†Once we reached the open prairie, there were cooling winds that rippled the tall grasses like long sinuous waves. ¬†There is heavy use of windmill farms here as the wind is constant. ¬†There are also long lines of snow fences to protect the highway from drifting winter snow (which comes early and stays long) as much as possible. ¬†We spent the night in Dubois, WY and as it turned out that was as close to Yellowstone National Park as we could find a room without spending $300 to $500 a night. ¬†We did not have a reservation and there were many people having a last vacation before the summer ended. ¬†The first day we spent quite a bit of time in the Teton area. ¬†The range of uplifted mountains are impressive. ¬†We made it up to Grant Village in Yellowstone and I had a buffalo burger for lunch. ¬†For you who don’t know it, it tastes like beef but has to be ground as it is tough and lean, so either has to have a long cooking time or ground. ¬†Just south of Alum Creek alongside Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley we came across one of the Bison herds. ¬†The males were in rut so some of them were putting on a show, strutting around the females. ¬†They are even more dangerous this time of year than normal. ¬†There were mothers with calves, calves cavorting, males rolling in the dust and chasing females. ¬†As they poured down the hill, I thought it wise to move to the far side of the car and watched them pass by our car. ¬†They always pause and make the traffic stop as they cross the road. ¬†I photographed big males against the sky on a ridge and with the Yellowstone River behind them. ¬†We got as far as the Grand Canon of Yellowstone and the waterfall. ¬†It started raining a cold rain in earnest and I had to leave. ¬† There was the possibility of snow that night predicted the weatherman. ¬†Just north of the road to Grant Village we came across three Elk. ¬†Ira photographed them with the 400 mm lens while I photographed a cute chipmunk pulling grass seed heads down to eat. ¬†By the time we reached Lewis Falls it was getting even chillier and had stopped raining so I got more photographs without as many people around as earlier in the day. ¬†We had dinner at the Jackson Lake Lodge in the Grand Teton National Park. ¬†We got there just in time for a spectacular sunset display. ¬†With the clouds swirling around the Grand Teton and Mount Moran it looked like they were on fire.

Bev with Bison BuddyThe second day into Yellowstone we came across a lone bull bison in the Nez Pierce Creek area. ¬†I took photographs of him in an open field and as he crossed the road and walked among some trees. ¬†I had Ira take a photo of me with him in the back ground before I scurried a safer distance from him. ¬†They look placid but can turn violent quickly. ¬†Ira’s knee became so painful at that point we had to go into West Yellowstone to a clinic. ¬†The nurse there advised him to go to the hospital in Jackson, WY, the closest one three and one half hours away. ¬†So I drove the car which I have only driven once before. ¬†The Garmin took me down the backside of the Grand Tetons on the Idaho back roads at high speed with many road construction areas. ¬†I will say the farmland was beautiful and green. ¬†Just before Jackson there is a mountain to cross with a 10% grade on a very twisty road. ¬†Ira controlled the downshifting while I concentrated on the curves and keeping from running into the truck in front of us until he pulled over to let me pass. ¬†Needless to say I was white knuckled and shaky by the time I reached town. ¬†Then had to drive through the town full of tourists. ¬†After tests at the hospital the Doctor said there were no broken bones of blood clots. ¬†That was the good news but the bad news was Ira needed to go home. ¬†Unfortunately home was 3,000 miles away. ¬†So, the good times have come to an end and we just made a beeline home, even so it has taken six days of hard traveling.

Observations I have made:  We have a wonderful, beautiful and varied country filled with kind people.  In every city the TV news is filled with evil but the average citizen is helpful and friendly, you only have to smile at them.  After driving seventy miles per hour over unfamiliar roads I have a greater appreciation for the big rigs on the highway and the difficulties they face when the weather turns nasty.  I also have a greater awareness of the difficulties people face who use a cane, crutches, or wheelchair after Ira had to use a cane then crutches as the pain in his knee worsened. And, no matter how much I tell myself I am not going to spend extra money, I still had to buy some souvenirs.  This time something for the Grandkids and some western wear for me and, as I really needed it, a few pieces of jewelry.  Oh well, I had fun shopping, meeting new people, and observing animals.  A trip to treasure.

Click Beverly Abbott to read her biography and to see art that is currently available.