In late May, my family and I were fortunate to be able to spend several days on the Cheyenne River Buffalo Ranch, the land that is the heart of Wild Idea Buffalo Co. We had driven through miles and miles of flat farmland before making our final push through the Badlands, which is a mighty and gorgeous landscape filled with distinct rock formations and storied fossils.
We passed through the Badlands and emerged on the prairie that is home to Wild Idea and its herd of buffalo.
I was immediately overcome with the awe-inspiring beauty of this place. Words fall short of truly capturing the way the sunset sweeps across the valley that is home to the Cheyenne River, how each turn holds a new treasure: a meandering stream, a pair of antelope, a burrowing owl nodding his head as if welcoming us to his home. Then there are the mighty buffalo. We were lucky to spend some time in the herd with Jill O'Brien as our guide, observing and enjoying buffalo as they grazed. Our visit coincided with the calving season, and we delighted in the mother-and-baby pairs that dotted the herd. All around us, new life was unfurling from the ground as native prairie grasses sprang up from their winter slumber.
This was my first time meeting the Joneses and O’Briens, though I felt immediately welcome and at home with them. Together we celebrated a special boy’s birthday and enjoyed delicious buffalo pulled chuck sandwiches that Jill made for the festivities.
Ranch dogs crisscrossed our path as we made our way down to the stream below the Joneses house to take the children fishing and burn off some energy. Dan and Colton helped my girls with their casting, and we all enjoyed the picturesque surroundings and delightful company.
South Dakota was more beautiful than I had imagined, and it was a joy to watch my girls roam the hills in search of prairie agates, learn to identify native birds, ride horses, and experience the renewal of spirit that time in nature can bring.