New Frontiers: Getaway in North Dakota's Badlands
But all of that falls second to the landscape, and I'm eager to see the wildlife. My North Dakota friends take me through the national park's South Unit, regaling me with tales of wild horses, roaming bison and tourists who refuse to stay in the car when buffalo approach. Minutes tick by. Nothing from the scenic overlooks. Nothing along the byway. I come away disappointed, ever the city girl expecting to see animals on cue.
The next morning, we drive 75 miles to the park's North Unit. I look out forlornly at a grassy landscape that seems pretty tame. Our car rolls inside ... and into the middle of a herd of more than 30 bison. We stop. The animals snort and kick at the ground, yanking at tufts of grass and swinging their shaggy heads. Who in their right mind would get out of the car? The nervous energy from my bike ride returns. But I'd conquered that without a spill (and got a pretty sweet photo of myself in a canyon). I fight the urge to roll up my window, grateful for another look at this frontier.