Ever watch one of those National Geographic wildlife films? The images that come to my mind are the mountain lion racing down a poor isolated elk, and a buffalo stampeding on some hapless mountain lion. Mountain lions need a better agent..
Not to go off on a technical rant, but buffalos are found only in Africa and Asia; the true name in the US is bison. My guess is that the marketers thought the name Bison Bill wasn’t as compelling as the alternative.
Those big bad boys can move! Bison (according to the internet, so you know it is true) are big-ass animals that can weigh in at 2,000 pounds, can jump 6 feet vertically, and can run 35-40 mph. Can you? I cannot.
So that was what I was thinking the other day when I was out taking photos at Teddy Roosevelt National Park an hour south of Williston, North Dakota.
We had hiked 5 miles earlier in the day, but I wanted to go out to a local rock formation just outside of the campground to take some pictures. I did that and was walking back to the campground when seemingly out of nowhere appears this several thousand pound buffalo.
Now I know buffalo can be dangerous because there are signs all over the park that say “Buffalo are Dangerous”. But what really occurs to me is the image from the films of a buffalo, er, bison, chasing down a mountain lion. Full disclosure: I can’t run faster than a bison or a mountain lion.
With literally nowhere safe to move, I back up back across the bridge as this buffalo follows me! I am reluctant to say he was hunting me down, but that is exactly how it felt. He followed me out of the park and maintained a vigil on me from the middle of the road for about 15 minutes. Awkward.
Knowing how effective it is, I even tried a stare-down with him. Just saying, I won! But he still had me cowering like a school child against the rocks, with no good alternatives other than to hide in a little cave in the rocks that I had found (or carved unknowingly with my bare fingernails).
Eventually, he tired of my antics and (we are now probably 30 minutes into this interlude) wandered off.
But I didn’t mean to pander to your vicarious wishes to see me gored by a bison, or spend this entire post talking about my trivial issues – like staying alive. I really wanted to show you pictures from Teddy Roosevelt National Park!
This place is stunning! We stayed in the campground at the north end of the park (Juniper), but there is another section of the park at the south end, which we did not visit. Add this park to your list!!