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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Kentucky Prairies

~Monday, June 21, 2021~

Day 372

Woke up to a little relief in the weather. We had quite the storm show with lightning, thunder and a downpour ⛈ for 4 hours. We’ve never seen skies that dark before, looking more like dusk, than midday. Finally, a storm worth writing about. Let’s just hope that’s all we’re in for.

After the long hot bike ride yesterday, it was nice to have temps dip to the upper 60’s and just chill at the campsite. Had a great phone call with my mom and sister. My mom had flown up to Oregon for a short 5 day visit with Tim and Tracy. I’m sure it was a welcome change for her, not having traveled in a while (like most people), because of COVID. We also got to talk to our grandson Easton where he was excited to show us his trucks and talk about his upcoming preschool (August). He is so ready. Everytime we talk, the first thing he asks is, “What ‘ya doin’?” and once you tell him what you’re doing, he says, “SHOW ME!!” The photos and videos of our trip are perfect entertainment for him. Our favorite days are the days we get to talk to family. Missing everyone so much!

As I mentioned before, we hoped to see the Elk & Bison Prairie, in the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area. With all this rain, we weren’t sure today was going to work out seeing them. But, around 5:00, the sun came out and thought we’d give it a shot. Early evening is the best viewing time anyway. The last time we’d seen elk or bison was in Yellowstone. Kentucky would never be on my radar for viewing such animals. Nearly brought to extinction in the late 1800’s, it’s so awesome to see that bison have regained their numbers now up to 200,000 in North America, thanks to public/private restoration efforts. The Elk & Bison Prairie spans 700-acres with lush, native grasslands, all enclosed to conserve a natural habitat for the elk and bison that had once disappeared from this area. The elk herds here originated from Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada. Only the bulls have antlers which they shed each spring. Their antlers can grow up to one inch a day and weigh up to 40 pounds. The 3.5 mile loop in the park takes you through rolling fields where you can view turkeys, birds, bison and elk and includes a few audio interpretive signs along the way. We saw a few wild turkeys on the first loop, but no elk or bison. So, thinking maybe we were too early, we tried the loop again, hoping to score a view. Bingo!! Actually, we’ve never seen a bison herd that large, nor have we seen them that close up.

No need for binoculars today. And we had the perfect, safe vantage point from our truck. There are actually signs everywhere that tell you to stay in your vehicle as you drive the loop, especially this time of year as the bulls can be quite aggressive during breeding season. No hiking or biking. Sadie actually did really good….no barking, no growling, just curious. Turning off the truck, along with all the other motorists in front and behind us, we must have watched this spectacular show for about 45 minutes. We were so fortunate to also see at least 12 bison calves, some lounging, some feeding, some galloping around. They were so cute.

And of the entire herd, including the babies, there was one dude. Wow, I guess he has quite the harem doesn’t he? As we were exiting, we saw quite a few male elk, only a few with a full rack. If you time it right, this is a very worthwhile stop. And even if you miss seeing these amazing wild animals, the park itself is gorgeous.

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