Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Going Lunar: Seven Days on the Trail

I have signed up for a seven-day trail race at the Buffalo Trace Trail at Mahomet. For this informal race each runner will strive to complete five miles on each of the seven consecutive days June 15-21. The organizer of the race is my lunatic buddy and fellow buffalo Chris Migotsky (above left, with me after completing a 31-mile trail race in a single day at Owen-Putnam State Forest in Indiana a few years ago). Those long legs of the tall Moon Master, as Chris is known to the herd, meant long strides, which I had to keep up with while we ran the trail together. Chris has been the coordinator of the full moon runs on the Buffalo Trace Trail, when the herd gathers on the night of each full moon during the year and runs the 5-mile trail, sometimes under beautiful moonlight, sometimes in bone-chilling cold, sometimes in a driving rainstorm. The moon run of June 18 during the trail race will be the 100th moon run.

Coming Soon: Recap of the Memorial Day Weekend. Don't miss adventures with the Wolf Woman, the Princess, Red Chief, Little Bull, Bull Daddy and Lanata, and the migration of my sister's herd from up north to the central Illinois prairie.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Bison by Any Other Name is a Buffalo

A Yellowstone bison. Or is it a water buffalo?

I have just finished chewing on my computer because of the following message, from an anonymous source, on the WEBSITE of the Buffalo Allies of Bozeman (Montana), a group dedicated to the conservation of the Yellowstone buffaloes: "You are not helping your cause by misnaming the creatures you wish to protect. The only true buffaloes are cape buffaloes and water buffaloes which I believe here in North America are all kept in zoos. If you wish to protect bison, then that's what you should call them and your organization. That is their proper name of which you should be aware. To further promote the misnaming of these animals may be counterproductive. I support the protection of bison but will never support any organization that doesn't use their proper name."

Good God. I just wanna smack people like that. Bison are commonly known as buffalo. No one needs narrow-minded views and silly "correctness." Using the term buffalo counterproductive? What crap. We're not talking about Asia or South Africa here, for Christ's sake. Look at the website. It says Bozeman. That's in Montana, which is in the United States. The message might have been written by someone with a grudge, or a troublemaker. If he or she is neither of those, then they are just plain aloof, or pretty damn silly. C'mon, just climb out of your high chair and do what you can for the buffalo, or bison. If the name is such an issue, then disappear, please. You are counterproductive.

Friday, May 16, 2008

An Evening with the Family Herd

The Princess daughter and Red Chief in a photo taken a couple of days ago.

Red Chief and his uncle Tim discussing the malfunctions of the Bush administration . . . or something just as silly.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fellow Icons of the West in Trouble

With the drastic reduction of buffalo over the winter at Yellowstone, where the only continuously wild herd struggles to survive, we now get THIS news about horses out west. I know there are enough caring people out there to help these animals, but these are situations that need immediate action.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alaska, the Undoing of Tom's Tribe

A grizzly would find Ali to be a nuisance.

I've been watching with great interest "The Alaska Experiment" on the Discovery Channel. On the website HERE, we meet the four groups of volunteers for the experiment in the Alaskan wild for a three-month survival tour. After watching the first episodes, I wonder how much longer the dad and his two college-age daughters can stand one another. If I were the dad of the two girls, I would lock them out of the shelter and leave them for the bears. If you've seen the show, you would understand why I feel this way.

(Reference: See my cast of characters in the right-hand column) Now, I wonder how I would fare in this show with, say, the Wolf Woman as my partner. Now the Wolf Woman loves animals, especially wolves, and very especially cats (she has five, and feeds a stray outside regularly). Wolf Woman and I would probably lose a lot of weight; both of us would find it very difficult to kill an animal. In fact, the Wolf Woman doesn't even kill cockroaches in her house, preferring to "lead" them out the door, as she says. But she does like to cook, so maybe I could look for the carcass of an already-killed animal in the wilds.

Or if I did the show with Princess and Red Chief. The Chief would want to go out and play with the animals or have a snowball fight, while the Princess, once the initial rations were gone, would be ready to go home. I can hear her now: "Dad, the Princess doesn't want to be eaten by a bear."

Or, with Tim and his faithful hound Ali Baba. Ali loves snow, and to see him prance around in a deep snow is a laugh riot. So, he would probably love Alaska, and would be a pretty good watchdog. I would expect a lot of barking at bears and other critters. Tim would want to know where he could get a Marie Callender pot pie or where the nearest fast food place was.

And if it were just me and Maddie . . . well . . . Maddie would cower in a corner of a cabin and not be seen for the entire winter, except occasionally to sit in a sun spot.

Considering all this, I think I'll just stay in the wilds of central Illinois.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Kennekuk on the AT

"Kennekuk" (Grant Cunningham) somewhere in the mountains of Virginia.

Grant Cunningham, the hubby of one of my co-workers, began hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) in March and intends to do the whole 2,174 miles of the trail stretching from Georgia, where he started, to Maine. THIS blog, maintained by his wife Connie, tells of his progress. Click on the reference to the AT map on the blog; shows the whole trail. Grant estimates it will take him about five months to hike the entire trail, and his attitude is good: if he can't finish the entire thing, no big deal. He'll stop when he's had enough. I'm jealous of his journey. I'm what they call a section hiker of the AT, having done two sections stretching from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, south through the Shenandoah Valley to Waynesboro, Virginia. I hope to hop on the AT again sometime this year. Grant is a "thru hiker," doing the entire trail in one span. And he has the trail name (most thru hikers have one of these) of Kennekuk, the running club to which both he and I belong. My advice to Grant: Be a buffalo. You will endure.