On the third day of our travel we continued our quest for wildlife, waterfalls, hot springs and other natural wonders in the northern part of Yellowstone. The drive along the Madison River, flowing through the meadows and framed by fir trees, set a cheerful start for our journey. Sunshine was playing on the green ripples of the river stream. Soon we saw a buffalo grazing on grass beside the road. Every car ahead of us was slowing down to take pictures.
At the Madison junction we turned left and drove along the fast and turbulent Gibbon River. Very soon we realized that we are in buffalo paradise. We had to slow down and come to a complete stop along with all of the cars ahead of us. A herd of buffalo were gracefully trotting on the opposite lane of the road. The first group of buffalo was followed by a ranger’s truck in order to let them pass by on their own unhurried pace and without been scared by the traffic.
Suddenly buffalos charged right towards us as we were sitting in the car. The buffalos split just in front of our car. Unexpectedly, we found ourselves in the middle of the herd. We were surrounded by slowly treading huge animals. The buffalos were snorting as they passed by. We could see their formidable curved horns. Their large heads were covered with thick black fur. Pieces of dry mud and twigs stuck to their fury heads and black beards. We could hear their snorting breath and the clanking sound of their hooves. The brown fur of their bodies was shedding. We even could see them eye to eye. One of them had a somewhat pensive expression in his big black eyes covered with thick short eyelashes.
As soon as we caught our breath after being so close to the buffalos, another group of buffalo appeared. There were seven adults and two baby buffalo. Buffalo calves have the nickname “red dogs” because of their orange colored fur. Buffalos were walking in the opposite lane and one of the red dogs was prancing outside the group and close to the middle line. I drove slowly to the middle to be closer to the baby bison, but it was a mistake. The mama bison figured out my move and pushed her baby away from the car. The rest of the buffalo passed us protecting their young ones by shoving them away from cars.
Luckily, there was a third group of buffalo plodding in our lane towards us. There were more than ten adults and four red dogs. Buffalos started charging towards us with their formidable horns pointed forward. They came so close that for a moment I thought they were going to gore our car. But they decided not to and split in front of our vehicle passing on both sides. Unfortunately we had only one camera! Luckily, we captured an adorable red dog walking alone and another one walking beside his mama. The other two red dogs were following their big mamas.