Watching the starry night of Yellowstone fade into a distant glow of morning, I kicked a final log deep into the fire. The howling of the wolves in Lamar Valley a few miles away was bleeding through the canyon to where we were sleeping. It was time to pack our gear and find the wolves.
We hiked a few miles, crossing a river bordered with petrified wood, and surrounded by steep mountains. When we arrived at the head of Lamar Valley, the wolves had either gone or moved on. Instead of a stampede, we were standing in front of a massive maze of bison.
A bison maze is more like a storm cloud than a physical maze. Lamar valley is a completely open prairie, with the exception of the bison that occasionally block the path. Bison maze navigation is also very similar to the game Frogger.
As Kyle and I made our way down the trail, we noticed the first few droplets of bison munching on the grass very close to the trail. We moved a little further up the mountain, to get past them, wondering if these drops of bison were about to turn into a fully formed bison storm.
They did. We stood in awe of the forces before us. There were many of them, and they were everywhere, with an opening that ran close to the middle of the trail. We hiked further up the small mountain we were underneath, and aimed for the opening.
Like all rainstorms in the mountains of the west, this one was over soon.
Safely on the other side, we watched a pair of hawks ride thermals higher into the sky, and passed a group on horseback looking to find some trout in the Lamar River. I didn’t envy them though. I was finally going to get some hot coffee, and a delicious breakfast in the coolest small town in North America.