#23 Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam

Ron’s greatest desire was to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Mine had been to see Grand Prismatic Spring. Both of our highest priorities had been met in those first two days in Yellowstone, and in doing so, we had  seen and learned more than we had possibly expected.

As soon as we entered this magnificent park, we knew it would be impossible to cover all the areas we desired – spend all the time we wanted. We had to choose. Now, on this third day, we had to choose between going through the south entrance to The Grand Tetons or to the northernmost side of Yellowstone to Lamar Valley. We chose Lamar Valley.

It was a long drive – nearly 100 miles – and not typical driving at that! You can see our route in gold on the map, and photos taken along the drive follow, as well.

(Did you know you can click on each pic to enlarge it?)

The roads differed from those we’d traveled in the middle of the park, in that they were sometimes tight and curved with short stretches in mountainous areas. We were glad we weren’t pulling the travel trailer.

We saw Obsidian Cliff and stopped at a kiosk where we observed some obsidian close up. I picked up a few flakes from the ground where people had chipped the beautiful dark volcanic glass, although they had been asked not to. Original peoples had used this rock many years ago for tools and weapons.

By Acroterion – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12213799

And we were amazed at an entire mountainside covered in steam vents: Roaring Mountain

This National Park Service video explains more about Roaring Mountain. It’s short. Click here. 

A short walk along The Artists Paintpots was like walking along a painter’s palette:

Certainly this drive had already brought many delights, but reaching the main junction of Mammoth Hot Springs brought us something we hadn’t yet seen anywhere:  Travertine Terraces of steaming hydrothermal features, always changing. They were beautiful:

Continuing east, we saw the beautiful Undine Falls, a three-step waterfall, which had once been on the cover of National Geographic

A petrified tree fascinated us, as well:

And antelope (pronghorn)

Although we saw buffalo here and there on this eastbound route along the north edge of the park, we began seeing them in herds:

Soon we entered a massive open area, a valley larger than Hayden – a valley larger than any we had ever seen. We parked along the road to take it all in. As far as we could see – left to right – east to west – were buffalo – thousands of buffalo:

And as we drove further east, this scene continued for miles.

In this valley, of course, A River Ran Through It. And  men fly-fished in the river, the buffalo grazing a short distance behind them. 

When you’ve seen buffalo and deer and antelope, how can you help but not sing, 

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,

and the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

and the sky is not cloudy all day.

As we began the long drive back to our campground, the roadside flowers, as they had throughout the last three weeks, welcomed me. Today, they softly sang  Oh give me a home, and it felt a bit like this valley really was my home. 

Click here to read the next  post in this series, “We’ve Hit It out of the Park”

Click here to view a wonderful video from the National Park Service about bison (buffalo) in Yellowstone. 

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