Saturday, May 25, 2013
. . .where the buffalo roam. . .and the deer and the antelope play. . .
We left the park this morning in Tab and Deanna's rig again, since we were going in search of the buffalo herd in Custer Park and the non-transferable window tag was in his rig.
We entered the park and stopped at the visitor center and asked there where the herd was located. One of the woman workers there told us just where they had last been reported. At least, the "women and children" of the herd. It would require traveling on some of the interior dirt roads, but Tab decided that would be acceptable. So off we went on a mission.
We saw more antelope and I'm ashamed to say we had seen more of them yesterday than anything else, so they barely warranted a slow-down today. Once we got on the dirt road, we kept a sharp eye out and we were afraid we were once again going to be disappointed. But that was not the case. Soon after, we saw cars stopped and as we got closer, we could see a group of about 50 cows and calves resting and grazing in a meadow. We stopped and got lots of pictures. Once traffic cleared we pressed on. I lost count of the number of times we stopped, but we took probably 1 1/2-2 hours to complete the few miles left on the road. The buffalo were everywhere. The road wound through the rugged terrain with rocky hills on both sides, so the buffalo were traversing the area primarily on the road, so many times we had to stop while the animals walked in the road or too close to us to move safely. They truly are amazing animals. It's hard to believe that millions once roamed out here. The herds were decimated by the buffalo hunters hired by the government to slaughter them in order to drive the Indians out. At one time fewer than 2000 remained. The herd at Custer is about 950 in the winter. Spring birthings raise the population to about 1450. They round them up in the fall and sell some of the animals off in order to keep the population of the herd at a point where the park can sustain them. So our foray into the park today was an unqualified success. We have seen more animals this trip than we have ever seen.
We then detoured back through Custer and stopped for lunch. We are now back at the camp and plan to do some laundry and rest up. Tomorrow is a day of rest for us. Then we start our trek again heading into Wyoming first and plan to cross into Canada next week.
Till next time. . .