Yellowstone is one of my most favorite places in the world. Here standing at the Roosevelt Arch north entryway, I am reminded of the words of President Teddy. As Ken Burns recent documentary show eloquently pointed out, our National Parks symbolize the very best of what we stand for as a nation. That evening, after having dinner at the restaurant, we walked back to our small cabin. There were elk scattered throughout the area, busy munching on select shrubs and grass.
Here Mrs Elk has found a delectible shrub right in front of our cabin. This particular encounter reminded me of a much more dangerous one I had had several years earlier at the very same spot. Here is how I described it on August 7, 2008. Keep in mind the small size of the porch in front of our cabin……It's early Thursday morning and as always I am an early riser. As I peer out the window into the slowly dissolving darkness, I am reminded of other early mornings and things that go bump in the night. We were staying in a small cabin at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park with our good friends Gary and Rosie. It was several years ago and the first week in October. A long time fishing visitor to the Park during mid-summer, a fall trip for wildlife viewing was a new experience. My three companions were late sleepers. I, being of the early rising variety, decided that rather than stare at the ceiling for a few hours, I would sneak out, book in hand, and walk over to the hotel restaurant to get my early morning cup of coffee.
The cabin we were staying in was quite small with a bedroom, two double beds and a bathroom. There was a small compound of these cabins surrounding a grassy area. As you can see in the above picture, attached was a very small wooden porch. Book in hand I quietly opened the cabin door and took a half of a step out onto the porch and into the darkness. It was very dark. Darker than I expected..... especially when the darkness moved. Suddenly, aware that a large buffalo was standing crossways on the porch and blocking the path, I literally leaped and fell over backwards back into the cabin.
Yes, a loud profanity was uttered on my part and the lights came on, with three rather disturbed people questioning my behavior and perhaps sanity. After resolving their concerns by showing them the visitor, still standing on the porch, order was restored. Later, Gary managed to snap a picture of the culprit, who had slowly followed a path up the hill behind the cabins. It should be noted that several park visitors are killed each year by getting to close to these placid looking bovines. I still get up early but look carefully before I step out into the darkness. Yellowstone Park an exciting place 24/7….:)