Sunday, August 19 – Bison, Humans, and Automobiles

The season continues to slowly wind down and traffic in the marina is slowly tapering off. We still get our share of peculiar and colorful characters. There are those who have the communications skill of mulch: “What’s the story with the boat rentals?” I’ve never answered with, “Once upon a time…” but I often think it. There are those who seem not to be enjoying their vacations, such as the two maladroits that came in Saturday afternoon speaking to us as if we were hired servants, snapping instructions at us and truly behaving as if THEY were extremely important. I wanted to ask, “Sir, are you being held here against your will? Let me know and I’ll call a ranger right away!” And there was the family of 7 that was determined that we should change our safety policy immediately in order to accommodate them (none of our boats holds more than 6 people). After completing paperwork for rowboats, then a scenic cruise, they finally went out in 2 motorboats and managed to break BOTH of them. You can’t make this stuff up.

On the positive side, one of our co-workers had notified management that he wanted to pay for a 2 hour fishing trip for the family of one of our seasonal visitors, in which one of the elders has terminal cancer. Everything had been worked out, but when the mom came in to check in and pay for the trip, our plan began to unravel. I handled the transaction and told the mom that the trip had been “taken care of” and she should put her money away (we were supposed to tell her who had actually picked up the tab, but no one had informed those of us on the front line). She kind of teared up, saying she thought one of her sons had intervened. I had a hard time maintaining my own composure. Later the dad came in and talked with the manager, expressing his heartfelt appreciation. It was one of those moments that can make your week.

We went out Sunday afternoon with plans to go back to Canyon and cover the portion of the Ribbon Lake trail that we didn’t get to the first time: the branch that veers off to Point Sublime. This is a fairly easy, mostly packed dirt trail that should not present any problems with Mary Ann’s less than adequate footwear (remember, she had to turn in her Walmart hiking boots because the Chinese soles had an excessive amount of lead and smelled of sulfur… or something like that). I’ll throw in a little foreshadowing here by pointing out that the word “sublime” is comprised of two words: ‘sub’ as in less than or lower than, and ‘lime’ as in bitter tasting fruit. Got that?

On the way up north we had to pause a few times because of bison. I’m pretty sure bison are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They have largely adopted the roadway system built by humans, thereby gaining access to these well-maintained thoroughfares without any contribution to their construction or maintenance. Sounds pretty intelligent to me. They even appear to have an understanding of what the double yellow line is for, though they’ve created their own use for it. Much as an aircraft taxiing toward the runway will use the center line, these advanced bison stroll along the center line, deviating only momentarily to prevent some wiseguy in a minivan from passing on either side.

Not all the bison were on the roadways, though their less intelligent human onlookers still stopped full on the road to gawk at those in the woods or down near the river. We did pull off the road for an hour and watch these impressive beasts. Mary Ann was hoping to catch 2 bulls fighting, though apparently on Sundays this does not happen. It was interesting to watch the heard move slowly along near the river in Hayden Valley, then either cross the road (thus stopping more traffic) or cross the river. As they passed our location we were able to observe various behaviors such as wallowing, scratching, sniffing, and pooping.

We also observed the various behaviors of the other humans which included photographing, binocularing, scratching, and sniffing. A few RVs were parked nearby so I’m sure there was some pooping, too.

Eventually we tired of this whole ‘observing’ thing and made our way to Artist Point and the trail head for Ribbon Lake. Except that it was completely different, the trail was exactly as we remembered it. And about a half mile in, we found ourselves at the fork. To the south the trail continued on to Ribbon Lake. To the east the trail headed off toward Point Sublime, another half mile ahead. We chose this trail because our hiking book described the view from Point Sublime as rivaling that of Artist Point.

Artist Point has nothing to worry about.

We could have stayed home and watched the view on TV. We headed back to the RV and decided to use the hiking book for kindling at our earliest opportunity.

Note to knucklehead drivers stopping on the road to watch the bison: MOVE!!

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One Response to Sunday, August 19 – Bison, Humans, and Automobiles

  1. Joe Reichel says:

    Love it! Crack me up!