Monarch of the Plains

I have always had an affinity for the American bison.  I loved them on the nickel coin, but when I saw them in person, I was spell-bound.  They are such mighty and majestic creatures!!!  And very powerful!

Once, when we were in Yellowstone National Park, we spotted some by the road (and there were many others who had spotted them, too, and pulled over.)  We’d read the information from the park rangers that said to not get near them because they are not only powerful, but they are fast, too!  They can run at 40 miles per hour (far faster than any human!!!)

They reach lengths up to 11.5 feet and up to 6.5 feet tall.  They can weigh 2200 pounds with 2 foot long horns.  It the 19th century, over 50 million were hunted and killed.  As many as 30 million once roamed the Great Plains of America at one time.  Today, there are about 200,000 bison.

On our way across country, we stopped to see Fort Hays.  You might recognize the name from the movie Dances With Wolves.  It’s the fort that Kevin Costner was assigned to towards the start of the movie before he headed out to the wild post where he met the Indians.  There’s not much there anymore, but there was a sculpture of a bison, the “Monarch of the Plains” and I took a picture looking up at him.

The proud “Monarch of the Plains”

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1882, Thomas Edison demonstrated the first practical electrical system when he lit up a square block in New York City with electricity.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: only 16 French Concordes (supersonic airliners) were ever built.  On New Year’s Eve in 1994, one Concorde took passengers on a 32-hour trip to nowhere.  They paid $23,000 each for the privilege.  They celebrated New Year’s twice on the trip as they crossed the International Date Line two times..

 

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