This morning I woke up “Out West” in a little primitive, but beautiful campground in the Badlands National Park called Sage Creek. I’m wake up to the chirping of birds and memories of entering the park. Recalling the first time I saw live Bison, up close and personal. My feelings were of excitement, wonder, respect and real fear. This was a majestic beast, two words put together that never before defined anything I’ve witnessed until now.
Untamed, unknown, unpredictable, roaming free and gigantic. I wouldn’t dare get out of Vannah (my vehicle) as thoughts of being charged came to mind. I thought, Am I far enough away? Should I roll down the window? Is this real? Will insurance cover vehicle damage? Should I wait for them to move? Do I inch closer? Why won’t they move? Are they toying with me?
It was a first, and I love those moments. After staring it occurred to me to share this moment so I went live. Maybe this would be my last moment! Just a few feet from my van I passed, windows down I get close. Their winter coats are shedding, their breath steaming in the air and their horns, not eyes are what I’m focusing on. All the while in this semi-terrified and awe-inspired moment little prairie dogs run, jump, stand straight up and bark. No big deal to them, being quick and close to their underground burrows these chubby playful natives are in stark contrast to the big and bold Bison of South Dakota.
I made it to the campground before dark even after exercising patience with multiple bison in the road. I’m surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Ancient weathered peaks of soft eroded conical mounds the Badlands change colors with the sun setting in the distance. I’m finally here, I made it to the truly Wild West.