McPherson Stories and Tips

Buffalo Crossing

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge Photo, McPherson, Kansas

As the year 2000 wound rapidly to a close we paid a return visit to Maxwell Game Refuge to see what was afoot. It was a bright day and the ground was covered with crisp white snow. Gone were the campers and fishermen and all seemed quiet on this prairie refuge except for a few other tourists out for a cold winter drive.

As we drove around the bend from McPherson State Fishing lake toward the refuge we noticed a buffalo standing in the road ahead. Cautiously approaching the area, we stopped the car facing another vehicle also stopped. And then we were allowed an extraordinary experience -- the buffalo herd had just begun crossing from one side of the road to the other. Many of them passed within a foot of our car and I worried about my open window as I filmed these massive creatures. They seemed as worried and unsure about my presence as I was about theirs. In the recesses of my mind a primitive impulse arose to step out of the car and walk among them, to experience them without the protective metal cocoon in which I sat. Reason prevailed and I remained in the car, just imagining a time when buffalo owned these plains and humans were merely fellow travelers.

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