Off the Gardner River

After entering the park

from Montana at the north

entrance, I follow US 89

for five miles south

to the Bunsen Peak Trail.

On the almost four-mile

hike, I drift past meadow

wildflowers—fireweed,

white asters, thistle,

and mountain dandelions—

linger for only minutes

near Osprey Falls

where above its one hundred

fifty foot drop are groves

of aspen, lodgepole pines,

and Douglas fir.

I calculate the distance

between camera lens

and a moose when

a park visitor startles

her into retreating

to nearby foliage

in a cloud of dust—

an unexpected glimpse

of wildlife on my mid-morning

Yellowstone Park visit.

Crossways Literary Magazine (Cork, Ireland)

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