Posted in Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging From A-Z 2015, Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Writing in Freedom

Bison and Black Sand Basin, Oh My! #atozchallenge Day 2

Bison are as much a fact of life in Yellowstone National Park as alligators are in the Everglades. They can roam further, too, since they aren’t constricted by a need to be near the water, or in weather warm enough to sustain a cold-blooded organism.

They also happen to be extremely large…and they tend not to look when they cross the road.

And that almost led me to an accident –

I was driving home in our big old Dodge truck, which had been lifted, in a previous life, to allow it to cross desert terrain. Unfortunately, the forward drive shaft hadn’t been extended, and it had a tendency to pop out if the truck braked quickly –

Like when an enormous bull bison came up an embankment right in front of me – remember, these guys do not look before they cross the road. I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting him…and that’s when the drive shaft fell out, grinding across the pavement. That bison turned, threw up his tail, dropped his head, and pawed the ground – all bison-speak for “I’m mad, and I may charge you.”

I’m still not sure why he didn’t.

During our time at Yellowstone, I saw many bison within what was quite literally a stone’s throw (Note: Do NOT throw stones at bison. It’s not only unkind and illegal, but it’s also stupid. Like alligators, they can easily outrun a human, and they’re outfitted with horns and hooves and a lot of weight and attitude…).

I’ve seen a bison at a phone booth, waiting as though he was expecting a call (This was before cell phones; today, he wouldn’t have to wait!). I’ve seen a herd of a hundred or more, all standing in the road in a snowstorm, blowing steam, beards frozen, and a confectioner’s sugar coating of snow on their heads and shaggy humps. I’ve seen them walking down the road, and nursing their little cinnamon colored calves. I’m happy to have shared a part of my life with these magnificent giants!

Bison Jam between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Geyser Basin. Photo by Neal Herbert, courtesy Yellowstone NPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons licence.

No B post would be complete without the Incident at Black Sand Basin. No, don’t go look that up – you won’t find it listed anywhere, because it’s just between my Accomplice and I.

When we worked and traveled in national parks, we owned travel trailers. During our seasonal breaks, we’d visit family or friends in New York, Oregon, or elsewhere. My Accomplice would drive Gus, our big Dodge, towing our trailer. I’d follow in our car, which was more economical for getting around once we reached our destinations.

Before one trip, we needed new tires on the trailer, so my Accomplice changed them….more or less.

We didn’t know about the ‘less’ – at least, not until we were leaving the Old Faithful area, on our way to Oregon. We were at Black Sand Basin, just up the road, when one of the tires came off the trailer. While my Accomplice was steering to the shoulder of the road, I watched the tire go bouncing across the other lane- thankfully, there was no traffic coming from that direction. In pure comic book fashion, it stayed on end as it bounced down the bank and into the woods.

It hit a stump, and landed upright. It bounced a couple more times, and startled a small group of Canada geese, who flew up with a storm of wings and ca-runking, before it finally tipped, and came to rest.

No, this isn’t where the Incident at Black Sand Basin happened, but this IS Cliff, my very favorite Yellowstone Geyser. Image by Jim Peaco, courtesy Yellowstone NPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

All ended well…but the culprit was my Accomplice, who hadn’t changed that tire because one of the lug nuts was locked and wouldn’t release. Of course, that was the last lug he attempted to loosen, and he forgot to go back and tighten the others….oops!  This post is part of my #atozchallenge. Click the link to explore other “B” posts! 


Have you had a near-accident, and emerged unscathed with a story to tell? Well, this is the place to share it! 




I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

3 thoughts on “Bison and Black Sand Basin, Oh My! #atozchallenge Day 2

  1. Very nice “B”.
    It’s so funny how little we know about the animals on other continents. We get people from all over the world who come to see the wild animals here in Africa and it surprises me to see how naive some people are. Hippos kill more people in Africa than any other animal, Lions eat humans and so on. Bison have attitude and will charge, I didn’t know that.
    Happy Easter and keep on trucking 🙂 Geoff.

  2. Such great stories to remember and to tell. I’ve seen buffalo in Alberta when I lived there – but not up close. The closest near miss was driving the Dempster highway at night, when 2 moose appeared at the side of the road. If they had kept going we would have hit them, but miraculously they turned and took off into the bush. Don’t know who was more surprised!

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