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On Wasted Days

A nice autumn day

The skies were bright blue today, and mostly clear of clouds.  The sun was warm, the air cool.  It was a perfect early-autumn day.  Not to be wasted, for sure.

After morning errands, I drove out along I-80 across the Platte River, to visit the Wildlife Safari for the first time.  As zoo members, we get a dollar off!

Not as extensive as Arbuckle Wilderness or that place my family always went outside Springfield, Missouri, this location is owned by the zoo and focuses on native North American animals, particularly those too large for great habitats at the zoo in town.

My favourites today were the elk.  The elk meadow is the first one you pass through, and there were a number of males in it.  They were moving about and every now and then one would hauntingly call.  It was magnificent.

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In the wetland portion, the pelicans were on parade.

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Only one black bear was visible, and that was from the backside asleep.  No wolves appeared.  I felt not only disappointed but somehow entitled to see wolves, for some reason.  Trying to explain my odd feeling, I humourously justified it by claiming my Native American ancestry.

Hiking, with the sun warming me, the breeze smelled like home.  It has been strange to discover that smells which I associated with Oklahoma are, actually, more broadly smells of the prairies and central plains.  Today felt like hiking at Roman Nose State Park.

At times I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, driving along looking for the animals in the woods.

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I was looking forward to seeing bison.  Seeing bison is not a rare experience, especially in Oklahoma.  And we have such great places to see them, particularly the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge (I never made it to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County; I hear it is great to camp there and that sometimes the bison will mill around your campsite).  

Today the herd were moving along the treeline together, and I sat watching for a good little while.  The two white bison surprised me.

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At the visitors center there was a garden designed as a sacred hoop based on a design of Black Elk's, it seemed.  That fascinated me.  I ended up finally buying Black Elk Speaks before the day was out.

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