Where the Buffalo Roam

Buffalo-0135How close would you get to a herd of 2000 lb. wild beasts.
The hostel website says I can check in as late as 12am, it is 11:46. I call several times; and cannot get anyone on the phone. I had already booked a bed on my phone. They call me back after midnight and say it isn’t possible for me to stay there it is too late. So I head to Antelope Island to camp; the gate is closed. It is now nearing 2 am and it is getting hard to hold my eyes open. I end up just finding a secluded place to park and sleep a couple hours. I wake up early and get some coffee and I went to get an oil change, where they tried to hustle me out of near two grand for a “power steering problem” that hasn’t done anything 6000 miles later.

Buffalo-0029I head to where the buffalo roam, Antelope Island. I arrive early in the morning, it smells of rotten eggs. The bacteria that thrives in the 25% salt lake create sulfur, causing the egg smell. In addition to the bacteria, the salt water also supports brine shrimp and brine flies. At the visitors center they tell me where I can most likely find the largest herd of buffalo. I head that way and have one to three-hundred American buffalo all to myself. The American buffalo range from 700 to 2000 pounds. Armed with my camera in hand and a .45 on my hip, which would likely be useless should I need it, I creep closer and closer. The first hour on the island was spent with this herd, just watching and taking pictures. I started off taking photos from behind a split rail fence, it seemed safe enough. But I needed to be closer so I stepped out from behind the fence and got a little closer. Every few minutes as I got more comfortable I would skulk a little closer. Once past my comfort zone, and far past the recommended “safe distance”, I still continued to get closer and closer. By the end of my photo shoot I was ten feet from the wild beasts with nothing in between me and the buffalo. My heart is racing, my adrenaline is pumping, and these were some extremely thrilling photos to take.

Buffalo-0199The rest of my time was spent exploring the island. In addition to the buffalo I only saw one antelope, one raven in its nest, tons of seagulls, and thousands of no see ‘ems. I soak my blisters from Capitol Reef in the salt lake and let the brine shrimp feed on them, figured it’s like maggots cleaning a wound. I then take my first ever coin operated shower. After I got out of the shower and washed off all the bug repellant I start walking to my car one-hundred yards away, then I start running. The whole day I thought the bug repellant was not working against the no see ‘ems, it was actually working quite well. In the thirty second walk/run to my car, in a towel by the way, I was swarmed by no see ‘ems. Biting me all over, infesting my hair and burly beard, causing me great discomfort. I get dressed quickly as I am slapping my body all over repeatedly, I probably looked like a mad man. I wasn’t worrying about the impression I left on the few people around, just trying to get the No See ‘Ems to stop biting.

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