Although I knew the views would be lovely and the Mission’s spectacular, the thought of our annual drive to Moise and the hours and hours of driving around the National Bison Range didn’t thrill me. I hated to think that I was getting cynical about this national treasure, but then I realized it wasn’t the Bison Range that bothered me, it was the thought of my husband’s slow pokey method of seeing the range.
First we stopped at the visitor’s center where we chatted with the ranger and a guy with a big camera. It was a busy day. After leaving the building we took our turn posing for pictures in front of the antler pile.
A leisurely stroll around the nature trail was okay and I was glad the mosquitoes weren’t biting. We took our share of pictures and I like this one that David took of turtles sunning themselves.
Back to the truck and on to the road again to hunt for wildlife. Coming around the bend, we saw a large bison herd with orange calves. Everyone loves to see the babies in the springtime; they are much cuter than the adults. Let’s face it, buffalo aren’t exactly the best looking animals on the planet. It was a natural place to stop for pictures and along with what appeared to be a class of amateur photographers, we got out to take our best shots.
We stayed there for a long, long time as cars creeped by with people staring at us and the bison. My husband’s strategy was to wait until the road closed for the day and to be the last vehicle on the road. That way we wouldn’t feel rushed by other vehicles behind us, and we would be around at the magic picture taking hour near dusk when many of the animals emerge from their daytime hiding spots.
As vehicles crawled by, we passed the time eating chocolate covered pomegranates. Tired of waiting for cars to pass, Eileen jokingly said, “Just ignore the buffalo you idiots.” It was almost as if they heard her because they started moving faster and David finally started up the truck’s engine.
Slowly but surely, we arrived at The Bitterroot Trail. With its surreal vistas and blooming hillsides, it didn’t fail to please.
The Highpoint Trail, which is often the pinnacle of our visit, provided stunning views and the opportunity to practice yoga.
While descending the Highpoint Trail, we saw a truck in the parking area which turned out to be the ranger‘s. It was getting late and I thought perhaps the ranger would want to rush us along. I was wrong. The ranger was a nice guy, explained that he was new on the job and told us to take our time. David said that we had no intention of rushing as we were there to take pictures, and it was only getting to be the time of day when the wildlife come out. The ranger kept his distance after that, although we were able to keep track of him by his vehicle’s dust cloud.
Bear and bighorn sheep remained elusive that day, but not elk, nor pronghorn.
After taking our best shots, which was easier said than done that day, (we just didn’t get the kind of light we had hoped for), we exited the gates as the sun was sinking in the west.
A week later a picture of a bear from the National Bison Range was published in the newspaper. I had to smile. I was glad that I had gone and also happy that we had taken our time; for the Bison Range truly is a national treasure that should be savored slowly and not be taken for granted.
Take your time, you never know what you will find.
Everywhere you look, life’s an adventure!