I have just returned from a family vacation to South Dakota. A highlight of the adventure was a visit to the ever-so-lovely Custer State Park in the Mount Rushmore area of the state.
This state park is chock-full of large wild animals. Yes, the enormous pastures where the buffalo (American Bison) roam are fenced but the animals really do run freely in the grasslands. A road for tourists to drive through the area is the best way to see the bison, pronghorn, deer, prairie dogs, and the friendly wild donkeys that call the park home.
I have been to this park three times now and enjoy it quite a lot! I want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day tomorrow (July 4th). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
This post is in memory of those who have lost their lives in the service of their country. Here are a few shots I have never posted that I took in Yellowstone National Park and Mt. Rushmore last September and also at my lake home here in Tennessee (Bald Eagle) in December 2010, and also in January, 2011.. These are iconic animals and views of the United States of America. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Have a good Memorial Day. P.S. I accidentally did not press the “Publish” button and thought I had posted this morning, but apparently not. So, sorry for the late post today!
Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to visit several National Parks and State Parks in the Great Plains. During the trip I took a number of pictures of Bison. There were large numbers of Buffalo in the Custer State Park in South Dakota and also in the Yellowstone National Park in the Hayden Valley area. I was so amazed that the buffalo seemed to just enjoy walking along the highway on the pavement among the cars! Of course, the big animals do have the right-of-way in the park areas. The buffalo often tie up traffic as they stand or walk along roads in the parks. The Rangers in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley area actually encourage the Bison to move off the road by using recorded grunts that are played out of the windows of the Ranger’s cars!
I also was totally shocked to find that a small group of about forty or so of the buffalo were trotting through the Fishing Bridge Trailer Park campground in Yellowstone National Park early one evening at twilight. This appearance of buffalo in the campground is highly unusual. I heard the Bison before I poked my head out of my trailer and had a look. I was amazed to see the herd trotting along both the last small roadway in the campground (about 10 feet behind my trailer) and in the forest at the edge of the campground. During the trip I also got to see Bison fording or crossing the Yellowstone River. That was really interesting to see. The very young bulls also were testing each other and play-fighting by butting heads.
So I managed to get to see a lot of big buffalo in a safe and enjoyable way. I took these pictures between Sept. 3-10, 2011 in Custer State Park and in Yellowstone National Park. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!