May 13, 2016 Part 2 (Tatanka, and All About That Bass)

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I hate the word “hiking”, but I guess you kind of have to use that term when describing the activity. What else do you say? Wandering through an area, typically on an established trail, but sometimes not on a trail? “Forest walking” sounds weird. Just plain “walking” sounds lame. I just feel like when someone says they are going hiking, that people envision big boots, a stroll through the wilderness, a campfire and a big coffee pot. Throw some flannel in there, maybe a floppy hat and a big walking stick. They hike to a viewing area, take some pictures of a valley with trees on each side and some type of mountain in the middle. They open the backpack and take out the ziploc’d sandwiches and trail mix, and feel good about themselves for taking their trash home with them. On the way back swing by Mc Donalds then head home for a night in front of the TV.

But that’s none of my business…

So after the car left and we “set forth on the universe”, we started to get an idea of what we were going to encounter on this, our first day. It pretty much just rained and snowed on us for the entire first half of the day. We stopped at a very nice little island consisting of one tree and some flat rocks in the middle of a huge meadow for lunch. Buffalo are grazing a few hundred yards away, and there are some prairie dogs that are not real excited about our prescience.

Tuna tortillas on the menu.

Shortly after leaving our lunch spot we venture across the meadow. The trail is grossly under-maintained and we lost it, but thankfully I was able to find the route using a GPS app I downloaded on my cell phone before we left.

We continued on the trail for a while and came across a rather large prairie dog town, with a creek running through the middle. Princess considered topping off water here, but I wasn’t real excited about drinking from the creek with so many prairie dogs and what not around. Call me a wimp, but I don’t want what they’re cooking.

Eventually we ended up in a more forested section, which I prefer more than the open sections. The only problem with the thicker area is this- you can’t see the buffalo until you are up close and personal with them. I couldn’t tell you how many buffalo we encountered on this day but I would be willing to place a bet that it was one hundred or more.

The closest and most was when we came around the corner to find a herd standing in the middle of the trail. We did our typical yelling and waving trekking poles, but they were not even a little concerned and didn’t want to budge. We ended up taking a detour over and up the hill next to the trail. But every time we would get near the top we would find more buffalo! We kept going 100 yards over, then 20-30 yards up and find more! This repeated over and over to the tune of about a mile detour. Some of these being extremely large bulls, we tried to give them as much space as possible.


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