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We'd rather be in Colorado

Norman Wright travels through a state steeped in history and tradition that represents the very essence of America

A huge bull buffalo rolled over in the dusty wallow then with surprising agility rose to survey his domain – the seemingly endless high plains of Colorado to the east and, to the west, the snowy peaks and grey crags of the Rocky Mountains.

We had just driven through the Rockies up over Wolf Creek Pass where we crossed the Great Continental Divide. Now we were seeing for ourselves the country we knew only through Western films and books, the land of Indians, cowboys, waggon trains and, of course, buffalo.

The herd we saw, grazing amongst the sagebrush or taking their own dust bath, number only a couple of thousand where once millions roamed.

Our giant bull matched the landscape, and with the mountains and huge wide sky as a backdrop, both beast and vista are truly magnificent.

Buffalo, or more correctly American Bison, were a bit of a theme during our tour of Colorado. We dined on Buffalo steaks in Denver, stood on Lookout Mountain and shared the view Buffalo Bill chose for his grave. We also walked in the footsteps of native Americans and the white pioneers who depended on hunting those massive herds to survive and then exploit America’s West. It’s not the Wild West any longer, although the bull looked like he could get pretty angry if his peace and his harem of wives were disturbed any more.

The herd was built like Spike the bulldog in Tom and Jerry cartoons or an American football linebacker – broad shoulders and huge muscular chest but with a small backside. It is a bit of an illusion as they can leap 12 feet in the air and get up to 40mph for short periods but they do look all head and front end.

This herd roam as wild on 50,000 acres of the Zapata Medano Ranch owned by the Nature Conservancy. The ranch also
has a beef herd and offers holidays where you can ride out with the cowboys and join in the working ranch.

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