A Walk on the Wild Side: Day 3 // Yellowstone National Park

Our last stop in Yellowstone…

We wrapped up our time in Yellowstone National Park exploring the East side of the Lower Loop and Lamar Valley.

I’ll go ahead and tell ya now,

if you don’t like buffalo,

this blog post isn’t for you.

๐Ÿ™‚

If you just want to stare at this animal (from a safe distance) like I do, then please,

continue reading and enjoy!

Without further ado,

BUFFA-LET’S GO.

Last post, I presented all of these questions that you too may never have realized you had about buffalo and their behaviors.

I shared a picture of all these buffalo in a field.

This picture, actually:

And then poof, I was gone.

Until now.

Back to answer all of those burning questions…

And share all the up close and personal (from a safe distance) pics I was able to capture as we made it around the east side of the Park!

Question 1: Why do they grunt?

That big ol’ bellowing noise you hear is not my stomach, but actually the buffalo! In attempts to assert their dominance over one another, you’ll often hear a lot of these noises during mating season.

Question 2: Why do you see some of them alone and totally isolated from the group?

I don’ t have good photo evidence to answer this question, but every so often we would see a single buffalo, completely by itself. Sometimes just off in the distance from the group (like the buffalo all alone on the other side of the river in the video above), but sometimes it can also be the only buffalo for as far as the eye can see in every direction. The best explanation Devon and I could come up with? Exiled. Banished. An outcast.

Surprisingly enough, we were kinda right! When a male tries to mate with female, it can often be like watching a bad date right in front of your eyes. You’ll see the male start following the female, standing right beside or in front of her, trying to get her attention. If the female doesn’t want to mate with the male, she’ll suddenly bolt through the herd in a way of saying, “Leave me alone”! Cue embarrassment and self-decided exile.

Okay, so maybe that’s not entirely true. I don’t remember what the real is and Google isn’t helping too much… but my explanation is pretty good, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question 3 : Why do you see them rolling on the ground?

Okay, this one I do know the answer! Similar to horses, buffalos roll in attempts to keep the flies off and to shed their fur! Google also says this is a way of leaving their scent behind during mating season.

Check this out!

NOW LETS GET TO THE REALLY FUN PARTS.

it only gets better, folks…

The next morning we left our wonderful free-range campsite in Island Park, Idaho and headed for the North side of Yellowstone National Park.

Once again, though my Google Maps was NOT recognizing the road through the National Park as the quickest route for us to get to our next site, by looking at a map, Devon and I both knew it would be.

We remembered how bad traffic was when we drove through around 11AM the few days before, so we knew we wanted to make it to the other side of the National Park AT LEAST before 9AM.

It was another early morning as we were on the road by 7AM.

Let me tell you…

This was one of the best decisions for 2 reasons.

  1. Hardly anyone on the roads. Even towing the trailer, we still caught up to a few slow pokes, but it wasn’t nearly the same stop-and-go traffic you’ll encounter mid-morning
  2. WE. SAW. A. GRIZZLY BEAR!!!!

Just having its breakfast on the side of the road…

Completely unbothered as we drove by not once, not twice, but 3 times.

The first time we couldn’t believe our eyes as it was on our side of the road…

completely unbothered as cars drove by…

It was so unreal, we both looked each other and without hesitation agreed,

“Let’s go see that again.”

Again, even towing the trailer, Devon perfectly swung us around and we drove by for the 2nd time,

again, the bear completely undisturbed by our presence.

Jaws are on the floor at this point.

It scurried up the mountain as we drove by the final time.

So. Cool.

About an hour or so later we made it to the North side of the National Park. A park ranger at the Mammoth campground was nice enough to let us pull in to fill our water jugs and quickly be on our way.

Reason #3 I was loving this early morning… We saw ELK in the campground!!!

Now keep in mind, we had seen a good handful at this point…

But we were seeing them like you see deer in your backyard… close enough to be like wow how cool, but far enough that you look away after 3 seconds… you know what I mean?

THIS TIME…

I’m telling you, people, if you want to see wildlife, #WEWENTTHERETIP Number 1: Go early

#WeWentThereTip Number 1.5: Evening/Dusk is also the prime time for wildlife viewing, but we’ll get to that momentarily.

Sure enough, we snagged one of the best sites in the whole recreation area.

We made it to our next free campsite by 9AM that morning. The reviews on Free Roam said it was typically pretty full, but if you know us, we’re always willing to test our luck.

Complete with a level gravel pad, fire pit, bear box, picnic table and this unforgettable view of the river.

Double bonus, it was only 25 minutes from Gardner and the North Yellowstone Entrance, and just about an hour to our next MAJOR wildlife viewing area…

After a fun day at camp and making some Instacart runs in Bozeman, MT (we were camping along the Wyoming, Montana stateline now), we finally headed back into the park.

but first- Dinner! One of our favorite things to make are Spicy Potato Tacos, inspired by Taco Bell ๐Ÿ™‚

This is one of our favorite dinners! Potatoes seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika and salt; tomatoes, jalapenos, red onion, and cheese! Topped with Taco Bell chipotle sauce and sour cream ๐Ÿ™‚

Welcome to Lamar Valley.

Around 6:30 that evening we went back in search of the most buffalo we’ve seen yet.

We saw a lot of buffalo in the lower half othe Park, but the Northeast side is supposed to be even better.

It didn’t take long before the traffic started.

This time, however, it wasn’t because of the overflowing hiking trails,

it was because of the buffalo :’-)

Okay, we answered the important questions, but let’s not forget the safety rules to being around these big animals!

  1. DO NOT TOUCH THE BUFFALO
  2. DO NOT touch the BUFFalo
  3. don’t touch the buffalo.

But in all seriousness, these are very aggressive animals and they can charge you if you’re not careful.

Their size can be mesmerizing and you’ll want to get allllll the pictures, but do so from a safe distance. Even if you think you’re far enough away, buffalo can run up to 35 mph… do you really want to be beat in a race by a buffalo? :-/

ALRIGHTS LET’S GET TO IT.

here they are.

listen to them!!! they’re kinda scary sounding!!!

One had a branch stuck on its head :’-(

I wanted to grab it off of him ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

We continued our drive around the park and the traffic jams continued.

Here’s where we get up close and personal (from a safe distance).

I’m including this picture so you know that not all of the pictures I take are good… And because I was SO DISAPPOINTED it didn’t come out… LOOK AT THE HORNS ON THIS GUY!!! so disappointed it was out of focus…

sigh…

I love these things.

They’re so fascinating to me…

Yellowstone was magical.

The geysers, the wildlife, (THAT GRIZZLY BEAR SIGHTING THOUGH!!!)…

“When We Come Back,” I want to visit in winter.

I want there to be snow on the ground, I want to see another grizzly, some wolves, and, of course, some more buffalo.

Let’s keep going North, shall we?

Glacier National Park, we’ll see you soon.

Until next time,

j&d

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