Saturday, August 08, 2009

Grizzlies and Wolves Beware. There's a New Kind of Wildlife Around!

And that wildlife I'm referring to are the Ness Children. They are cute and smart but still wild. On Thursday morning all 10 of us packed up, loaded the cars and headed to Yellowstone National Park. Our goal was to get on the road by 10:00 am. Guess what time we actually got on the road. Go on, guess!

10:30 am!! I'll bet you thought I was going to say 1 pm. We were early! (Early for us!)

So, we arrived that evening. Here is some of what we saw in the park:




You might be asking yourself "What is the difference between a bison and a buffalo?" We've all pondered this question at one time or another. And now, my friends, I have the answers to put your minds to rest. According to this website, "'Buffalo' is the popular name often used to describe North American bison; however, this is a misnomer. In fact, buffalo are distinctly different animals from bison. Although both bison and buffalo belong to the same family, Bovidae, true 'buffalo' are native only to Africa and Asia."

Next time you hear someone erroneously refer to a bison as a buffalo you can say with authority: "You are mistaken, sir (ma'am)!" And proceed to school him in the true nature of things. He will much appreciate it, I'm sure.

We did two full days driving around Yellowstone visiting each of the tourist villages. Unfortunately, Peter and I had a miscommunication regarding our camera and it died the first afternoon. Otherwise, I would have taken about 1,000 more pictures. The landscape is so beautiful there. It is a feast for the eyes.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.


More Nesses.

The Dragon's Mouth steam vent. As the water ebbed and flowed it made a growling sound like a dragon I suppose.

Old Faithful.

These next pictures are from Peter's dad's camera. A lot of them were taken by Isaiah. He's quite a good photographer!

Thermal Pool. Don't you just want to jump in?? But that's not a good idea because you would be scalded.

All 10 of us near the Old Faithful Visitor's Center.

Bubbling Mud Pot.

Fountain Geyser. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time to catch this one. It's not very predictable. But it is quite spectacular. Its eruptions are up to 100 ft high. You can get up really close to it. We were probably 20 feet away.

When we were driving out of the park there were herds of bison everywhere. They blocked traffic crossing the roads. It took forever to actually get out of the park but it was fun to see them up close. I don't know how well the video below will work. But it is footage of a bison that was walking down the road right next to our vehicles.


Jim Macdonald said...

On the "bison" v. "buffalo" question, the so called misnomer is a misnomer of sorts.

Of course, there is a difference between the bison of North America and the buffalo of Africa; however, does anyone really believe "Buffalo Bill" was mistaken to take on the name, that he was confusing himself with the buffalo of Africa? Obviously, that's ridiculous.

Those who attempt to draw a strict distinction between the two names are merely making a semantical argument. In fact, many groups know the difference between the buffalo of Africa and what we call buffalo in North America and still use the word "buffalo" ... for instance, many Native American groups use the name "buffalo", many grassroots organizations, etc. And, they aren't confused; they know it's a different species; they prefer to use the semantics of "buffalo" because of the historical roots and usage and a lot of other connotations as well.

When someone insists that a bison is not a buffalo, they are simply prejudicing a kind of strict scientific semantics over other kinds of speaking. That is inappropriate for those of us who speak a language as flexible as English to accept.

Bison and buffalo can and often do refer to the same thing. In my own prose, to make that point, I usually use them interchangeably, often in the same sentence.

Jim Macdonald
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman (i.e., allies of bison; trust me, we all know the difference), also of Yellowstone Newspaper

PS Or, should we have called "Buffalo Bill" William Cody? How arrogant of us to apply two names to the same thing, especially one we apparently can't keep straight with African buffalo (bill)? And, aren't bills those things on certain birds or football players in New York? Wow, it's so confusing.

PPS Sorry if my point was too over the top; I enjoyed reading your post ... found it as I was looking for articles for the "newspaper" I compile.

Peter and Leslie said...


So, it appears that I was the one that was "schooled." I was being facetious when I suggested that one should be corrected on the buffalo/bison issue. I definitely agree that it is more important to preserve linguistic and cultural traditions than to be strictly semantically correct. And in English, few things are "correct."

I appreciate your lucid articulation of your point. Was it over the top? Perhaps, but it provided a lively discussion. I'm glad you commented.

Jim Macdonald said...

Thanks for accepting my apologies ... it was over the top (re-reading it).

You'd be surprised how often we get criticized by people being totally serious for incorrect usage or how many park rangers snicker at all us ignorant folk who use the word "buffalo." Of course, you probably surmise that I'm the one snickering back (when I'm not rolling my eyes - it's hard to do both at once).

I'm glad to liven the conversation - though in all heartfelt seriousness, I wish I could do more for these unfortunate animals caught in the crossfire of our politics and for the place that inspired me to notice.

Maybe, we'll all run into each other again on the blogosphere when you are writing or surfing the web on Yellowstone matters.


Anonymous said...

I loved the video of the bison. Thanks for putting that on. Terry