I just returned this past week from a vacation with my family to South Dakota. The soul reason for this trip was to visit family members. It is not the difficulty of getting to the destination that is memorable to me, but rather one of the days I was in South Dakota that I will never forget. We were in South Dakota for seven days. On the sixth day, my family and I took a break from visiting everyone and decided to take a personal day. We drove from Rapid City, SD to a National Park called the Badlands. I remembered coming there as a kid and running up the steep hills and looking for fossils or unique rocks. There is hardly any water and the sun blisters your skin. Surprisingly, there are animals that live in this desert. Many fossils and bones had been found of mountain lions, prairie dogs, large dogs, and even fish.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
As we were driving on a path at the top of the Badlands we all saw numerous little specks of black down at the bottom of the hills. We drove down there and confirmed our guesses of what the specks were. It was a whole herd of buffalo. There were probably around 200 buffalo. We all got out of the car and crossed over the road to get a better view. We had to walk through a shallow muddy stream. My brother, Jaron, and I were laughing and joking about how we were going to ride one of the buffalo when we got to them. When we actually did get near them, you could see the blood drain from my face. The excitement had washed away with the stream and fear came over me. I knew they were going to be big, but when I was standing thirty feet from them I realized just how easily they could crush me if they decided to stampede. In the middle of the herd were baby buffalo. They would follow their mothers around all over and feed whenever they felt like it. There were males that made a protective wall between the rest of the herd and me. Even though they were huge, muscular, and could kill me with ease, they appeared almost as scared as I did. They did not want us coming any closer to the calves. We kept a distance so they wouldn’t feel too threatened and attack us. I saw buffalo roll their selves in the dusty ground of the Badlands in order to keep cool and keep insects away. Some buffalo would play and snap at other buffaloes’ tails. There was one buffalo that stood out. He was the biggest, and obviously the leader of the herd. He came running from a distance and stood between the herd and us. He would make loud moans indicating we were trouble and for us to leave. After watching for almost an hour, we returned to our car. That day I will never forget.
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