Thursday, September 12, 2013

Have you ever been growled at by a buffalo?

Well, I'm not sure if you could call it a growl, more like a deep grumbling, rumbling that comes from somewhere deep down, and makes your eyes go as big as saucers.  This happened to us recently at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

But first, last night we stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of Rapid City, South Dakota.  The day before we visited Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore.  Those posts will be shared later.  Today was spent traveling and as now we are heading back east and towards home, we are like a couple of homing pigeons.  We clocked 550 miles on the odometer and are taking the freeways home rather than the side roads, so that we can make a little more headway.

This post will be about our trip to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, as we were leaving Medora, North Dakota on September 9th, 2013.  We stayed at the Rough Riders Hotel, a real neat place decorated in the old west style, and it is only a couple of blocks from the park entrance.

You can check the place out at this link.  Our room was in the older part of the hotel and was small but more than adequate for the two of us.  It had a real nice cozy feel and we loved how it was decorated. The bathroom also had a wonderful walk-in shower.   Here are a few photos taken inside the hotel.

This sculpture is on the desk where you check in.  It reads, "Coming Through the Rye" is one of Remington's most famous pieces; a casting greets visitors at the East End of the White House.  Remington was one of Theodore Roosevelt's favorite artists.  This casting welcomes you to the Rough Riders Hotel and was gifted by Frank Kubik in honor and memory of his wife Doris and his children Jeff, Jane and Nancy and their families."

I loved the wall lamps.

Before we left the hotel our son Brad called.  It is always good to hear his voice, especially when we are traveling,  and we enjoyed telling him about our visit with the family.  In his growing up years he visited the homestead with his grandfather, accompanied also by his cousin who lived near us back east.  Our son has a lot of good memories from those summer months, finding out what farming life was all about.

After our chat Gregg and I decided to have breakfast at the hotel's  restaurant, "Theodore".

The coffee was great.....

and the food was delicious.

Gregg ordered eggs, sausage and hash browns, I ordered Eggs Benedict.  We shared the pancakes.  The photo of my breakfast was blurry so I didn't include it here.

Our waiter was a young man spending his second season working here.  He was from Argentina.

Our short time spent at the Rough Riders Hotel in Medora was a very pleasant one, and we wouldn't hesitate to stay here again.

At 9.15 a.m. we left the hotel and we have now traveled 6,824 miles since leaving home.  We are heading for Theodore Roosevelt National Park - you can read about it here.

One of the first places you come across is a prairie dog town.  There are hundreds and hundreds of them, their mounds stretch as far as the eye can see, and you can hear them barking from a long ways off.

Gregg said a good trial for testing out a camera's durability would be for Cannon to plop me in the middle of a prairie dog town.  I take a lot of photos.  I also noticed that there are still patches in the middle of the road where these industrious little animals have popped up through the tarmac.  I remember one such hole from my last trip here back in 2005.   I watched this one for quite a while as he tugged at lichens with his teeth until he eventually had quite a mouthful, and then disappeared down a hole.   Bedding material or food?  I have no clue!

They can create havoc outside the park though.  Here they are a very popular tourist attraction.  For us who only get to see them in zoos back home, it is quite a sight.

There was also a little bird that took us a time to spot.  It was so well camouflaged and fed in the same area as the prairie dogs.  It looked like the kind of bird you would only see on the sea shore, some kind of sandpiper, but I haven't found out what it is yet.  Maybe you can help me?

At 11.00 a.m. we saw buffaloes on a side road and that was an interesting time.

We had been looking out for them and spotted a couple of cars that had stopped along a side road, and from our experiences in Yellowstone, decided to check it out.  As we approached we saw that several of them were standing in the middle of the road.  We were also followed by two more cars and soon realized that there was no going forward or backward, and no room to turn around.  The only course of action was to wait them out to see if they would move.  Well, we waited and waited and waited, for a long time.  They were not moving.

Finally the truck in front of us decided to ease its way passed them and we followed closely behind.  Just like the experience with the bull elk in Yellowstone, this was a little too close for comfort and as we slowly edged our way through several eyes stared at us as we passed by.  We had the windows down and as we passed one big fellow, so close that if I had reached my hand out I could have touched him - and no I didn't.  He looked at me and suddenly gave out the loudest rumbling, grumbling kind of a growl that I have ever heard that close, and I also saw that his tongue was sticking out.

We passed them and went up the hill and instead of there being a loop as we expected, it was a dead end at the top with an overlook.  

We had no recourse but to turn around and go back down the hill.  

There they were, blocking the road again but by this time another car was in front of us and he did the same as the vehicle had done previously, ease by very slowly.  The buffaloes once again moved and gave us the eye as we passed.  I heard no growl this time and no tongue was sticking out.

I love seeing these magnificent animals but I don't want to be that close.  I don' want to get that close again, but it was an experience I am glad I had.

We see horses high up on the ridge line.  They make a beautiful sight and you can see them in my present header.

I will end my post now and do another on the park later on.  My wi-fi keeps cutting out on me at this hotel, so I think I will try and post it now while I am still on line.

On the road again tomorrow, a little closer to home.


  1. Wow - what an experience. I love your horses on the horizon header too.

  2. I think the bird is a Killdeer, and are often found far from water when nesting. She will also act injured if you get too near her nest, in order to look like a more inviting meal, rather than her eggs.

    Could be wrong though. Sure looks like one.

  3. HI Denise What a wonderful trip you are both on. Great informative report on it and marvellous photos. That was great that you say those Prairie dogs and got all those shots but for me, having those Buffalo so close was awesome. Scary but you will never forget that moment.

  4. Wow, Denise! This was such a fun post. Thank you so much for posting this despite the wifi problems. That is such a fabulous hotel. I'll have to mention it to Art. The food looks so scrumptious!

    I know exactly what you mean about talking to your kids when you are on the road. It's so reassuring.

    And the buffaloes! Oh MY GOODNESS! That is darn close. I've been around buffaloes at Yellowstone, but never that close and I've never heard one make any sort of noise. Wow! What an experience!

  5. I love the photo of horses in your header and am impressed by all the mileage you have covered. What a fantastic trip! The inside of the hotel has an authentic old-world charm to it and the pancakes look yummy. I would be a little nervous being so close to those buffalo. But I do admire them for standing their ground and/or lack of fear. Inching by them TWICE must have taken a bit of courage, too!

  6. What an adventure. Being growled at by a buffalo has to be your top story at parties. I like those little animals, too, Prairie dogs .. is that what they're called? Enjoyed this post, Denise.

  7. Another great park visit and I love the hotel. It is beautiful. The prairie dogs are cute, I have never seen them in the wild. I know exactly what you mean by the buffalo growl. I heard it when we were in Yellowstone! Great photos, thanks for sharing. Have a happy day and safe travels.

  8. Enjoyed seeing these magnificent buffaloes, Denise, and they certainly made a formidable roadblock.
    I believe that bird is a killdeer as we have seen them around here. They very often make their nests in unexpected places on the ground,mike driveways or by the roadsides.

  9. Gee, what an experience! I just loved those photos of the prairie dogs and mounds they made. Very interesting post, Denise.

  10. 'All creatures great and small' . . . the prairie dogs are so cute, though I suppose not so much if they appear on private land.

  11. The prairie dogs are storing food. That bellow is primitive. You also have a plover.

  12. What a trip! That buffalo or Yak would have scared me too.

  13. yes, killdeer - a type of plover. :)

    the prairie dogs are so cute, but i'd hate to deal with their holes and burrows. :) the hotel interior is really neat! glad the bison didn't take out your car. :)

  14. I learned that a killdeer (bird) is also a type of plover after trying to identify your mystery bird. Around here the prairie dog ruins the pastures and are considered pests that need to be removed. People would not think they were so cute if they were called prairie rats. Hope your journey home is swift and safe!♥♫

  15. Ha---your Buffalo experience reminded me of when we were near Rapid City and visited Custer State Park... The burros were in the road going up to cars and BEGGING. People who knew ahead of time that they were there fed them apples. We didn't have anything to feed them --but they got right up next to the car.. Kinda scary although they didn't make any noise or do anything to scare us... Great experience though.


  16. Love seeing those prairie dogs and the buffalo!

  17. Been there loved it too! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Thanks for sharing yet another exciting experience or should I say experiences, and now I know what a prarie dog is. They look so cute.
    Those buffalo are beautiful but like you I'd rather them at a distance than up close and too friendly.