As I am going out before dawn tomorrow, I thought you would enjoy this afternoon’s adventure finding Coal! You do realize there are more than just horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park right???

On my third try at finding Coal today, I was going to give up after the second try, but decided one more attempt might prove fruitful, I had the dreaded Bison encounter! Not only once but twice!

The first one involved a young bull looking for his three buddies! I was standing on a ridge looking for Coal and his wayward band when I heard this low rumbling and grunting sound coming from behind me. I had passed a herd of cows earlier but they were quite some distance away. So I turned to investigate the noise and thought, Holy $%!@ (yes you can fill in the blanks). Now what do I do? Here comes a very large (in my mind) bull! Of course I am in a place in the park where there are very few trees and the closest one is down the hill. Off I go….yes running! Slide in next to the tree and while standing behind the tree I realize I can’t see him! Not a good place to be, not knowing where your opposition lies! Off across the valley is a big rock in a more strategic position! Peak out from behind the tree, don’t see a buff, so off I hightail it down the hill, up the next hill, and hug the big rock on the next ridge! (Thinking the whole time how grateful I am for the past five weeks of daily hiking.)

Okay. All is good! I have a game plan if this goes wrong, I am near a big rock and can do the run around if I have too. I see Coal and the mares have spotted said Bison boy. Minutes tick by and I get a glimpse of his (the bison’s) derriere disappearing over a hill. Whew…that was close. I stand there a few more minutes and decide it is safe to move closer to Coal. Take five steps and look up and oh $#!! again, he is on the ridge staring down at me! How did he do that?

Now this is getting serious and my heart starts to pound. I decide where I am going to put my camera so I can sprint faster if need be. I decide to pick up the infamous rock I have heard will deter them, but only if you ping them in the nose! My aim was never very good, so I am praying it will be now! As I am surveying my options I hear more grunts and see his three buddies have now joined the ridgeline! Well, will it do any good to text Melissa and Lincoln and let them know where to find me ground into the dirt????

Then…just like young teenage boys, they sprint!!! Running with their tails in the air, snorting, bucking, kicking, and playing BACK to the herd!

Whew…….breathing……again…………

Finished my business with Coal and headed back out of the badlands. By now the herd of Bison had moved a long way off! Or so I thought! There’s always that one! Hiding in a gully!

A pregnant cow this time. I looked at her and said, “Just stay there.” Like that is going to help! I kept walking, much faster now, hoping she would just ignore me. She didn’t. I walked faster, she did too. Now I am seriously looking for another tree to sprint to. I glanced back one more time to see where she was.

Yep standing on the ridge, sticking her tongue out at me!

Good Night from Medora!
Deb

bison