Saturday, September 03, 2011

Badlands :: Where the Buffalo Do Roam

Wednesday, August 24th - - As I pulled in the Sage Creek Basin Overlook, I remembered from the sign at Hay Butte that bison reportedly roam this area but I hadn't noticed any. I drove on over to the far side of the parking area and was getting out of Van Dora when I heard a grunting, snorting sound behind me.

Turning around I saw a long line of buffalo, the first few were approaching the top of the bluff and were just a few feet away! They extended for quite a distance down the hill. I immediately got back into the van and put the windows down so I could take pictures.

The vast majority of the buffalo came up on the passenger side of the van but the one above and below came up on the drivers side, and oh, so close!

I think this one must have been the calf of the one above. They stuck pretty close to each other the entire time I saw them.

I thought this was the last of them...

So after they passed by, I gathered some nerve and stood up outside the van and saw more of them coming.

Others that had already come up moved slowly through the parking lot, some continuing on across the road. But some of them stopped to browse or scratch their bellies on the posts that delineated the parking lot.

They were of all different ages and sizes and colors. Just like people, bison have distinguishing characteristics too.

For about 15 minutes I was entirely alone with this herd of bison. It was incredible. The sounds they made were like nothing I had ever heard before – growling, grunting, snorting. This car was stopped in the road waiting for the buffalo to pass – it took about 30 minutes from the time I first saw them for all of them to get to the top of the bluff and across the highway. This one lone bison lingered for quite some time scratching his belly on the post then he (or she) too moved on. And all I could do was shake my head and say Wow! again and again.


Barbara Poole said...

What an experience you'll never forget. Fab pictures too. I never saw them in the Badlands, only at Yellowstone, when they walked past a line of cars (at least there were people around). But to be alone, I'd freak out. Glad they were good to you.

Carol said...

Terrific experience. Great photos! I think I can hear your heart beating, loud! I know mine would have been.

Susan Clark said...


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...


Bob Kramp said...

Loved the pictures and story. Brought to mind a trip I made there in 1990. Your blog is extensive; I searched for but could not find a picture of ur minimalist van-also mentioned in your comment to Eastman's new RV blog. Gotta a link to pic of your van? Interior?