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When I first saw the prompt for this week’s Five Minute Friday, I considered spinning the word into another story about our trip to Yellowstone. I thought about writing about our time on Slough Creek and Jay as the observant fisherman.

I could then share about how un-observant I became as I sat on the bank reading a book. The bartender from the night before had written about Hemingway’s time in Yellowstone. We purchased the book, and I knew I had to pack it for our hike/fishing trip. As I sat there, reading, I became engrossed in the story. I could easily picture the places he described.

Jay and I on the trail hiking to the prime fishing spot for Jay to enjoy, while I updated our travel journal and read my new book.

Seemingly out of nowhere I heard a snort behind me. Panicked, I turned around to see a bison 30 yards away. (When I tell the story it’s 10 feet away. Jay always has to correct me. You’d think a fisherman would understand the point of embellishment for the sake of the narrative.) The bison started pawing the ground, I would explain, and I knew this would be it. We’d be the dumb tourist on the news who turned their back to nature and died as a result.

This bison grazed by the creek – on the other side. He didn’t seem to care about us and moved along when he finished his meal.

Jay wanted a picture while I tried to find an escape route. Located on the creek, next to the bank, we would have to get closer to the bison before we could get to the trail and getaway. Walking through the creek was our only other option. The bison pawed the ground again. Jay snapped a photo of me, I glared at him (the epitome of “if looks could kill”).

Then, in a surprising move, the bison flopped on his back and wiggled around like a giant dog. He hadn’t been getting himself psyched up to attack a couple of tourists. Instead, he wanted to stir up the dirt and scratch his back. In hindsight, I find the plot twist hilarious, at the time my adrenaline coursed through my veins and I found nothing amusing.

We hiked half a mile along the creek until we came to the campsite. A lady relaxing in her hammock, greeted us as we approached. I told her to watch out for the bison. She looked so at peace, enjoying her book, I didn’t want him to sneak up on her as well. Only she’d already seen him, yet managed to keep her cool.

Jay and I hit the path back to the main train and hiked the 4+ miles back to the car. I kept my bear spray at the ready, and my nerves didn’t settle until we reached the safety of the trailhead.

I thought about sharing this story in a post but wondered if the written word would do it justice. Maybe it’s a story I should save for parties when I can work it into the conversation. “Did I tell you about the time a bison almost killed me?”