April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log

Questions? Comments? Reservations?

Another Portland Blog

Friday, August 11, 2006


Gone buffalo huntin', back in two weeks

A few years ago I spent a summer living in a magical place filled with boiling geysers, pretty scenery and oversized mammals that love to block traffic. And now I'm going back for a spell to hunt down one of these mammals in particular. I've got a picture of him. Take a look at this mean bastard:

While I was working as a hotel clerk in Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 2002, I became convinced that this five-legged* beast had a grudge against me. One day as I was driving south through the park I encountered a line of bison with him in the middle. As I slowly crept past, eager to avoid any trouble, he turned and tried to take out my driver's side door with his head. I swerved in time. To make matters worse, I'm pretty sure he was stomping around in traffic without insurance.

A few weeks later I was caught in a freak June snow storm. As my lightweight Toyota van and I struggled towards home, out he popped on a stretch of highway five miles past Lake Yellowstone. I took a blurry photo as I waited for him to move (see above). If I had brought any common sense with my that summer, I would have turned around and spent the night in the staff quarters of the Lake Hotel. Heading home in that storm, in a vehicle that can barely handle wet pavement let alone high-elevation battles against nature, is among the stupidest things I've ever done.

I drove slowly and hit an elevation of 6,000 feet as the storm intensified. Along a lonely stretch of poorly-maintained highway, who appeared out of nowhere? A single, solitary bison. As far as I know, these animals don't hang out at that elevation. What was he doing up there?

We had a ten minute stand-off as the road grew increasingly dangerous. There was no way I could pass without coming head to head with this furry, 2000 pound wannabe bridge troll. Certain stretches of highway in Yellowstone were built 70 or more years ago and are as narrow as a residential street. In frantic disbelief I stared into the bison’s completely indifferent eyes, it was as if I was bouncing around in the very soul of Mother Nature herself and let me tell you something: Mother Nature is a stone cold bitch.

He huffed and puffed and stamped his foot like a bull up against an arch-rival matador. Just as I was about to call his billy goat's bluff, he averted his cruel gaze and calmly strolled over to the edge of highway. I slid all the way back to the Canyon Lodge and made it to the parking lot before the storm hit full-throttle.

So how do you explain something like this? Coincidence? Or was there a magical buffalo living in the park that I somehow pissed-off enough for him to try to get me my very own page in Death in Yellowstone?

Whatever the motive or story behind all this, I'm going back to Yellowstone for, among other reasons, a chance to track this same buffalo down and tell him he's an asshole. I never got a chance to on Mount Washburn.

Yeah, the whole thing is sort of like Brad Pitt and the bear in Legends of the Fall. Someday the bison and I will probably get into a fight to the death on the edge of a cliff. It may happen in a few days or a few decades. If I make it back I'll see ya'll again in a few weeks.

Oh, not to change the subject, here's a You Tube link to the greatest commercial ever made:

* As a final note it has just now occurred to me that the bison’s fifth leg isn't a leg at all. Jeez, he could spear a whale with that thing. Screw it, I'm trading my arch rival animal for a guinea pig.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home




  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?