Where Did You Find or Leave Bear?: Yellowstone National Park, USA

She was the last thing we expected to find in Yellowstone National Park! We had stopped to take a picture of a herd of bison on the road, and a small white sign underneath a tree caught my eye. “Colorado or Bust” it said, and behind it was a small bear who appeared to be hiding out there, away from the stampeding bison hooves.

“Do you need a ride to Colorado?” we said.
The bear nodded, and introduced herself as Lucy Cavendish.
“Well, today’s your lucky day, because we happen to live in Colorado, and are leaving for home right now!” said Lucy’s new travel companions.
Lucy smiled from ear to ear, and politely thanked them as she climbed into the back of their Jeep.

On their drive out of the park, Lucy suddenly called from the backseat “Pull over! Oh please, oh please, pull over!” Her companions had no idea what was going on, but they had never traveled with a bear before, and were not familiar with bears’ travels needs, so they did as she asked. Lucy had her companions pull over at Yellowstone National Park’s Roosevelt Lodge, named for the 26th president of the United States, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Lucy told her companions this story: “A long time ago, Teddy Roosevelt went hunting, and came across a wounded baby bear. His hunting companions wanted him to shoot the bear and claim an easy trophy for himself, but he took mercy upon the little animal and refused. The story of his mercy quickly spread around the country, and soon toy bears were made commemorating this event, which eventually became the most popular toy of all time!” Lucy’s companions immediately understood her excitement, as Teddy Roosevelt is the man from whom teddy bears got their name! Lucy proudly sat atop the sign at Roosevelt Lodge so all could see one of Roosevelt’s most popular accomplishments, in the flesh (or fur).

Several hours into their trip from Yellowstone to Colorado, Lucy and her companions stopped in Dubois, Wyoming to gas up their Jeep at The Country Store. To their surprise, this gas station also had a giant stuffed jackalope! Lucy was unfamiliar with this American word, which to her sounded like a cross between “jackrabbit” and “antelope”. She soon learned that jackalopes are animals found in the western United States. As she suspected from the name, they are rabbits with deer antlers (some species additionally have the tail of a pheasant), and are thought to be near-extinct. While some people might think that jackalopes aren’t real, cowboys in the Old West would swear that jackalopes were real, as they would commonly hear them singing along with their campfire songs. The giant jackalope at the Country Store was available for humans to ride for a small $1 donation, and bears could ride for free! The companions quickly paid the donation fee, and had some great fun with the jackalope!

On their ride through Wyoming, Lucy and her companions drove through a huge thunderstorm, common during summer days in the West. Lucy was scared of the loud thunder, and with every loud thunderclap, crawled further and further into a suitcase in the backseat. Once the storm passed, a beautiful rainbow was left in its place! Lucy said the scary thunderstorm was definitely worth it!

Lucy finally made it to Colorado, and cannot wait to see what sort of adventures she will have there!

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