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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tatanka (American Buffalo), Texas Longhorns, Burros and Jewel Cave Nat. Monument

Aloha Everyone,

This morning we experienced an incredible sight of seeing an estimated 250 bison moving and grazing. Only a strong wood fence separated us from the enormous mammals.

On September 30, 2015, there will be the 50th Annual Buffalo Roundup. Approximately 1,600 heads are corralled, tagged and vaccinated. Excess males are removed from the park.

The Texas Longhorns were brought from the brink of extinction. There are two types of Longhorns, both having exceptionally lean beef. Their names come from where they originated and their distinctive horns which can span up to 7 feet. While in Texas, I was unable to see one close. Here they were in South Dakota lounging in a private ranch just outside of Custer State Park.

The free magazine published by SD Department of Game, Fish and Parks clearly warns visitors not to feed, disturb or approach wildlife. Yet we see time and time again, people feeding wild burros carrots, apples, chips or whatever "food" they happen to have.  

Jewel Cave National Monument offers several different guided tours to visitors. Being close to lunchtime and J.J.'s decision to stay above ground, I joined a short, 20 minutes tour. My visit was enhanced by Robert, a fantastic guide who enjoys his work. He is from Florida, studying Urban Planning and he told us that there is no relationship to his summer job, but he truly loves his work.

We happened to be at the right place at a right time. As we returned to Games Lodge Camping Ground, the herd of bison were also coming back. We were told that this close encounter especially twice on the same day is extremely rare.

My healthy dinner salad

Aloha -- Cathi