B) Trailblazers

It was for the great game animals to mark out what became known as the first thoroughfares of America. The plunging buffalo, keen of instinct, and nothing if not a utilitarian, broke great roads across the continent on the summits of the watersheds, beside which the first Indian trails were but traces through the forests. (19)

It is very wonderful that the buffalo's first instinct should have found the very best courses across a continent upon whose thousand rivers such great black forest were thickly strung. Yet it did, as the tripod of the white man has proved; and until the problem of aerial navigation is solved, human intercourse will move largely on paths first marked by the buffalo. (20)

But the greater marvel is that these early pathfinders chose routes, even in the roughest districts, which the tripod of the white man cannot improve upon. (21-22)

The buffalo, because of his sagacious selection of the most sure and most direct courses, has influenced the routes of trade and travel of the white race as much, possibly, as he influenced the course of the redmen in earlier days. There is great truth in Thomas Benton's figure when he said that the buffalo blazed the way for the railways to the Pacific. (137)

Historic Highways of American (Volume 1): Paths of the Mound-Building Indians and Great Game Animals (1902)
Archer Butler Hulbert