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Friday, August 7, 2015

Land Between The Lakes - Elk & Bison Prairie

 "Welcome to Land Between The Lakes", the sign read. A few feet behind it another sign showed the things it had to offer. One of the signs catches our eye, Elk & Bison Prairie-. Now we had to decide, head the three hours home so we could get there sometime just after dark, or go on an adventure. We had the camera, it would only delay us for 20 or 30 minutes, right? 

The adventure won. One of the beauties of home school is that it can/is done every where, which means most if not all of our "adventure" can be marked as a field trip.  Elk & Bison Prairie? Nature Class! What ever we can't blame on school, we just call photography trip.  Isn't it awesome?
 At first, we didn't see anything- well there was lots of grass and trees, and we were a little worried we wouldn't see anything. Then about half way through the "prairie" we started to see Elk and Bison. But they were all pretty far away.

Mrs. Cottage quietly slipped out of the car and focused the camera up a nearby hill and she could see this fella lumbering.  It stopped looking up at her and for awhile they just watched one another. It made a decision to check out this woman invading it's territory and slowly it meandered down the hill not taking its eyes from her.  As it approached the midway point on the hill she slipped back in the open door and watched from the safe cage of our minivan as it continued to come closer.

He came ever closer until he was right up against our car, his back by the mirror on her side of the car.  It just stood there munching the grass.  We all held our breath in the moment amazed by this amazing creature so close to us.

This animal was truly amazing. It just stood there serenely, so close we could have touched it (we didn't of course).

And then this big guy decided he was the official tour guide, and started to escort us very, very slowly through the park. Nice view right?

They are pretty amazing though. The elk just looked like scraggly dear with a big target on the hind end. What? They do.

It took us maybe 25 minutes to make it through the park, but we enjoyed it so much! I've never seen bison so close that I literally could have reached out the window and touched it, don't worry no one did, the only thing that poked out that window was a camera lens. Something about being so near to these creatures is awe inspiring- the fact that they wonder around paying you no attention is so weird, that you want to whisper so they don't take off running like a deer.

The Prairie is open year round from dawn to dusk, you must be in an enclosed car. You are not allowed to walk through the prairie or ride bikes or motorcycles through. To view the wild life that calls the Prairie their home you simply drive on the 3-mile loop. You can always pull to the side and just watch and there are also places you can park and read about the animals/park. But they ask that if an animal is within 50 feet of you or begins to approach you remain in your vehicle.



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