Saturday, August 6, 2011

A run in the Black Hills

I saw no bison on my run today.

That is good.

Gavin and bison.
My son, Gavin, and I were driving out of the northern section of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota yesterday. We are on a 10-day father-son road trip. We are making it up as we go, and today is our fifth day, and I'm hoping we make it up well today. Yesterday, we had packed up our tent in nine minutes. A thunder and lightning storm had started at daybreak. I sat up, shook his shoulder, said we had to move, and we did. We pulled out in a rented Toyota Corolla (it moves well) and I said to the 16-year-old sleepy eyed young man: You moved fast.

He said: "I wake up well."

True, he does. One of his redeeming qualities. As we drove out of the park, a large herd of bison blocked the way. Large males stood in the road. We had been told by park rangers to keep our distance, so we waited. And waited. The storm was still gathering itself, still to the south. We were the first ones on this access road to the camp grounds. We had moved faster than the others. But the bison weren't letting us go. Slowly, I started to inch my way up to them and I had visions of the bison, acting like an elephant once had in Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa once did to us, charging our tiny car. But it snorted, and slowly moved out of the way, more cow than elephant.

The others parted, too, and we hit the road, going south, into intense storms, toward the Black Hills. We are here now, in a $95/night roadside inn, locally owned, a spot now populated with bikers here for the Sturgis bike gathering.

South Dakota doubles in size next week. Some 500,000 bikers arrive in Sturgis. But today, on a run along the aptly name Skyline Drive outside Rapid City, I had the road almost to myself, except for one biker, one runner, two walkers, and six wild turkeys. The turkeys were quite friendly, scurrying up the hillside toward me in the tall grass. On the way back (what a hilly run!), they were crossing the road in front of me. Slowly. Almost like bison. I learned later turkeys aren't hunted in Rapid City, only outside city limits. A good thing.


  1. Good morning - Enjoyed waking up to your tales while sipping our morning cup of coffee.... Loved hearing about the wild life you've encountered as all we have sightings of right now crows, squirrels, and Marley roaming in the back yard.

    Looking forward to traveling vicariously with you.
    Love, Lynne and Lois

  2. Thanks for reading! But watch out for crows, and I hear that Marley is BIG!