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Braving the Buffalo MAG
Some familiesvacation at Disneyland, some go to the beach and others travel toforeign countries. My family does nature. We've explored national parksin the Southwest, plus about two million caverns, gardens and overlooks.Most of the places we go are interesting, but I can't have the time ofmy life watching nature. That's what we do, though. No crazy white-waterrafting, kayaking and horse riding stuff for my family; the moststrenuous treks we make are half-mile hikes to look atwaterfalls.
Last summer we spent almost two weeks at YellowstoneNational Park in Wyoming. I admit the park is impressive, but after thefifteenth stunning view, the twentieth waterfall and the ninety-seventhelk, things start blurring together. It's then that I become reluctantto leave the car, arguing that I can see perfectly well from the window.By then I've already heard the"put-down-that-book-and-look-at-the-scenery" lecture, so Dadresorts to the "ungrateful/unappreciative/ lazy"lecture.
"Come on, Sara. Get out and look at this. It'sonly a short hike. This is different from all the other hot springs andgeysers. Blah blah blah unique blah blah blah." He'll go on forfive minutes if I don't get out, admire the view, do the short hike andsnap 67 pictures. Of course I protest before I give in: "I just gotout. I'm tired. I hate the hot springs, they're all ugly." But, ofcourse, I surrender.
Some days I was more cooperative and hikedto three or four waterfalls, taking what seemed like hundreds ofpictures and actually enjoying myself. We actually saw a bear and Imanaged to catch a shot of a coyote running across the road.
Wespent hours one day following two buffalo wandering on the opposite sideof the river. Even with the zoom lens we didn't have a good shot. Thenext morning we got closer to one on a hill, but still not close enoughfor a really good picture. We spent that morning like all the others,but in the afternoon came the real excitement.
"The trafficis slowing again; I wonder what's going on," my dadobserved.
"Please don't let it be more elk," Imoaned.
"If it's elk, don't stop," my mother said.She'd told him that before, but he'd stopped every time.
"I don't think it's elk," Dad replied. "Look! It'sbuffalo!"
A herd was crossing the road in front of us.They'd cross to one side, then meander back to the other. I rolled mywindow down and got the camera ready, but kept one finger on the buttonfor the window. If you have never seen buffalo, they are enormous andlook ferocious. There are signs posted all over Yellowstone warning that"Many visitors have been gored by buffalo."
We weregetting closer. The rangers were trying to move them off the road, butthe buffalo kept coming. I was snapping pictures left and right. Fromthe corner of my eye I could see a huge male buffalo coming up behindus. He went right by my window, only an inch from the car. That windowcouldn't go up fast enough. I could have reached out and touched him.The whole herd passed and headed into the trees on the other side of theroad. We drove on, amazed and exhilarated.
After that, everythingelse was anticlimatic. Nothing could compare to the wonder of thosebuffalo. I may pretend to hate our vacations, but even now, if you askabout our trip to Yellowstone, I get excited and proudly boast that Ibraved the buffalo of Yellowstone National Park.
The Secret Language of Custom
by Evelyn H., New Brighton, MN
Flight 4026 by Sionan B., Gilmanton, NH
By Diana G., New City, NY
Fun Fact: If you want a home where the buffalo roam, head for Asia or Africa, not the American West. The big guys out there are really bison.
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