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Liam's Bison

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We knew there were bison running wild at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We'd seen their tracks and droppings all around the main visitor center. But so far, all we'd seen were some distant black specks, which we needed optics to make out.
I love a kid with binoculars.

Liam was stoked! Even distant dotty bison are better than none.

Our sweet Shoomie was about to get the surprise of his little life when we rounded a bend in the road at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. One minute, nothing, then BOOM! OMG!
A massive, and I mean HUUUUGE, bull bison was rubbing his woolly neck on a guardrail only a couple of feet from the car. We all inadvertantly recoiled inside the car, and Bill paused only long enough for me to roll down the window and fire off a couple of shots with the 18-35mm lens. The real short lens. I mean, you don't want to tick off an animal weighing over a ton and armed with wicked hooks and hooves, not to mention a head like a battering ram. Liam was hyperventilating. We all were.

We pulled a respectful distance away, only to see a truck roll right up, and its occupants disembark, perhaps intending to compete for the 2009 Darwin Awards.

Only two things are infinite -- the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the Universe. --Albert Einstein

Go, Daddy, go. Get that picture.

Soon, the bison ambled off, evidently choosing not to reduce Richard Avedon to a spot of grease on the road.
photo by Bill Thompson III

Reverently, we examined the guardrail, shiny from years of such itchrubbing.

Liam put his hand in the bull's immense round hoofprints

which trailed off through the bentonite gumbo.

He was a gift, that's all, a gift to our boy and to us.

These wild things enrich our lives just by their existence. But experiencing the sight, smell, sound and feel of them can change a life, and help a child know how to be grateful.

Here's to wild places and hearts that know them.

Here end the Montana and North Dakota posts.
Canoe down Montana's Missouri River,
go see bison and wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, or
come see the prairie potholes at Carrington, ND's Potholes and Prairies Festival in early June 2010.

Or do it all in one unutterably swell foop. We did!

Go. Just go. Show your kids a real live grunty bison.


I gotta say--I looked very quickly at that first photo, and thought--is that Bill? No, it's Liam. Oh my. Sweet sweet.

Love the bison bull gift to Liam and you all. What a good earth we live on. Let's keep it. Seriously.

Love this one, Jules. What a great day that was. And a great trip. I love how Liam reminded us that the road where we found the bull bison was Buck Hill.


We had a bison experience years agoin Custer State Park, SD that caused hyperventilation as well! We drove a small Datsun car, daughters were about Liam's age at the time. We and another car stopped to watch the burros along the road. Suddenly there was a rumble, we looked over to see the entire CSP herd come on the dead run, pouring over the hill and heading toward us. No where to go or time to do it. We sat in the car while bison bigger than the car streamed all around us like we were a rock in the middle of the river. I think we all expected to be flattened on the spot. They kept going over the next hill, never changing pace, never looking back. We and the folks in the other car just stared at each other in wonder. My girls are now in their mid-thirties, we all still remember the experience as if it were yesterday. I can imagine your family feeling the same.

Good thing your car didn't go Suba-ROO ROO ROO!

We had a huge bull bison walk past our little Suba-Roo when in Yellowstone a few years back. I recall sitting in the passenger seat and looking UNDER this animal's belly. Truly amazing. Wonderful post, what a great shot of Liam smiling gently at the camera--in his bison cap, no less!

When we saw the cassowary in Australia from a distance of about 10 feet, I heard my sister’s voice in the back of my head.
She was saying that if they become agitated for any reason, they could eviscerate a person with their middle claw/talon/can opener.
Got the telephoto lens and backed up.

God Bless Liam and his Bisons. A great story, told so nicely - a keepsake for Liam!

Thanks for the great buffalo encounter, the sunsets, the flowers, the birds, and Chet Baker. Hurry back.

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