“Aggressive bison,” the sign read. “Just decades ago, they had to fight for their lives against grizzlies and wolves.” What chance did I have? A 5 foot 10 human of average build against a 1,400lb steak?
10 feet and a patch of dirt separated my mangled body from its wrath, and it was then that I knew I had made the right decision.
I was absolutely right to come here. Here, to the Badlands of South Dakota, to one of the most obscure national parks in our country’s domain. Here, in the Badlands, on a dirt road miles from nowhere, surrounded by hundreds of playful and one very angry buffalo, I knew I was free.
And so Day Two comes to a close. It’s been less than 48 hours since I left my life in a storage unit and hit the road out of Memphis. Yes, I miss you all. But I can tell you that — so far — it’s been worth it. 1,200 miles separated the paths of the monster and I, and now we are on the same one.
He’s still out there…just a few hundred yards from camp tonight. I can hear the herd grunting amidst the odd coyote call and owl screech.
Yeah, I got lucky. The bison never charged, but I won’t go so far as to say I punked it out. You can make that call.
For now, Night Two begins with an amber sunset over a lush, green valley in South Dakota. This is the fictional land of John Dunbar (Dances with Wolves), and the very real land of the Lakota Tribe. The Badlands feel ancient. They have bones — many of which you can see. Some of which, you can feel.
It’s not unlike Memphis, at least in that way. 1,200 miles from home, I’ve already found another piece of soul.
And I didn’t even have to dance with a wolf.