Dicing with Bison in Kentucky

We drove up through the cotton fields of Tennessee and eventually as the rain fell we crossed the border into Kentucky. My boyfriend wanted to get a KFC for the comedy value (get it?! Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky??!). Looking back I can see that it is quite the comedy gem, but at the time I did not fancy eating there. Besides, the reason for our trip to Kentucky was not to eat wings, but to see Bison (aka Buffalo)!  (I’m sure there’s a buffalo-wings joke there somewhere?!)

Elk 1Our destination: “The Land Between The Lakes” ; a national park which was aptly named, being as it is, um, some land between two lakes. As we crossed an endless bridge into the mist we were glad to finally get there!

We headed straight for the Bison and Elk Prairie. This seemed to be essentially a field to keep Bison in a specific area, but it isn’t a zoo or safari park – they are wild animals. I was faintly terrified to see high wire fences around, and signs about safety – stay in your vehicle if the animals are less than 200ft away, and don’t go further than 10 feet from your vehicle even if the animals are further away. Basically, don’t be an idiot.  We crept forwards in the car, my BF at the wheel, unsure what we were going to see. I felt like we were in Jurassic Park and a dinosaur was about to pop up any second! However we were soon delighted to see Elk relatively close up! We parked the car and stuck our heads out of the sunroof – a primitive safari vehicle, if you will.

Elk 2Bison 1The Bison were more tricky. We didn’t spot any all the way round, apart from one which legged it past us at the start. We also didn’t see many other cars. It was only as dusk fell that we came across a car going the wrong way round the one-way loop road. The driver leant out of the window and explained that there was a herd of Bison on the road so he had turned back.

We drove closer slowly until we saw the herd. My ridiculous boyfriend wanted to drive THROUGH the herd (??!!). I think he thought they were cows. So he kept driving slowly closer, until he got about 50 metres away. At which point I started to freak out and insisted on changing drivers – but obviously we couldn’t get out of the car in case the Bison charged! But after some undignified clambering over seats I regained control of the car. One hasty but “no-sudden-movements” u-turn later, I felt MUCH better! The car was pointing AWAY from the Bison and I was in the driving seat…. And Breathe…..!  I had a few choice words for my BF though!!

We then grappled with a wet, dark drive to Nashville….

Next blog post: Nashville, Tennessee

Previous blog post: Paris, Tennessee

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