It's early Thursday morning and as always I am an early riser. As I peer out the window into the slowly disolving 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 three 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 previous day we had driven up into the Lamar Valley for some great sight seeing. We saw plenty of elk and buffalo and did a short hike up into the small but colorful Pebble Creek canyon. I even had a chance to talk to some of the "wolf watchers" with their huge scopes and cameras.
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. Also attached was a very small wooden porch with a railing and a few plastic chairs. Book in hand I quietly opened the cabin door and took a half of a step 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 nightime 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 dark.
As usual loved your story...took me back. I think we stayed in those same cabins, and we woke up to bats in the cabin with us. They were just coming in from a night of catching insects. I gave you an award this morning. You need to 'come by' and pick it up. If you need help, just send me an email. I did not know how to begin to do this.ReplyDelete
It sounds like a wonderful trip. Meeting a buffalo at the front door would be exciting--one time. I wonder why he was so close to the cabin. Curious about people?ReplyDelete
Great post. My husband is also an early riser. He just hates the winter mornings when he has to wait so long for the daylight after he awakens. We have too much wildlife (not buffaloes at least) to venture out with the dogs before it is light.ReplyDelete
Your cabin mates probably didn't mind too much. Most of us "late sleepers" can turn over and snooze again in an instant.
You had me going for a sec, there--thought the big bull elk was in your dooryard at home!ReplyDelete
Nice memory of Mammoth--still a great place and a great place to camp too (and you can soak in the Boiling River).
I blogged our wolf trip to Mammoth last fall, it's worth getting up at 5 a.m. to see the wolves as well as the wolf-watchers.
Loved the pictures - a place I most want to visit!ReplyDelete
I, too, am an early riser, and I've visited Yellowstone Park. As a Chicago resident (and I mean very near downtown), I'm not likely to run into any four-legged animals if I venture out. Even the two-legged variety the city is infamous for are usually asleep by early morning. Anyway, I appreciate your tales of your nature-loving life, different as it is from my city life. And I'm glad that you love to write.ReplyDelete
Seniorwriter, of "Never too Late!" and "Write your Life!"
Thanks for stopping by!ReplyDelete
I felt like I was right there in the crisp morning mountain air! That would definetly be a rude start to a beautiful morning!
(ps..our Grandkids are 1200 miles away! I so miss being a part of their lives)
Oh my, well... that would make one utter "words" of surprise! What a great photo of the culprit!ReplyDelete
Eeegads! What an experience! Still, I would love to see such a thing.ReplyDelete
What an awakening! I remember as a child how the zoo used to rope off the bison enclosure during fall rut...they had dented the fence badly with their aggression. I sure wouldn't mess with them!ReplyDelete