Getting lost in the Yellowstone

(a story of six tipsy friends wandering in total darkness, and a Bison name King)

In August 2016, six of us joined a multi-activities tour of Montana and The Yellowstone National Park with Austin Adventures ( ). One night we stayed in The in the Lake Lodge Cabins inside the national park and the company arranged for us to have dinner at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, about half a mile away. Our guide drove us to dinner in the van and said that she will pick us up at the end of the dinner to head back to the cabin. During the ride over, our guide told us that around our cabins there is a big male Bison name “King” that roams around in the area. He is very gentle and are used to being around people but we still should not try to approach him.

As this was near the end of our trip, we decided that a little “extra celebration” was called for. We ended up finishing three bottles of wine between just the 6 of us. Our guide dropped by mid way through dinner to see if we wanted a ride back. We thought that the walk was not very far and the weather was so nice so we told her we would walk back ourselves.

When we walked outside, things got really interesting. It was pitch black and we did not think to bring a flashlight. The only light we had was a tiny light from a cell phone. What was worse was that I was so sure of the direction of our cabins (a drunk’s intuition !!) that I decided that we were to to take a short cut and not to follow the road that we came in on.

By the time we realized that we were totally lost we could not see the light of any building and we also got so turned around that we could not even go back to the hotel to ask for directions. Being late at night during the off season, we did not see any car that we could flag down to ask for direction.

While we were stumbling around in the dark for about half an hour, I kept thinking about the King’s and sometimes even imagined that I can hear his breathing sound !!!

Of course the story had a happy ending as I am still around to write this story. We eventually lucked into a convenient store that the owner was just locking up. A few minutes later we would have missed her. She pointed out the direction of our cabins.

Well, the next morning, I opened the door of our cabin, blocking much of the sunrise was King !! He was enormous and just stood there staring at us as if to say that “you were lucky that you did not run into me last night”.

Although he proved to be a gentle giant, I cannot imagine if we actually met him in the dark, how fast we could run.

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