Rachel set out on the long drive home but the wind was gusting over 30 mph, causing white caps on Lake Oahe. Shawn, the canoer I met in Bismarck, had arrived the day before. We knew there was no chance of making progress so we lounged around in the campground’s cafe. The hours ticked by as we made use of the wifi and available food.
KJ, one of the people who run the resort, mentioned something about having to go shoot some medicine into cows with a dart gun. Shawn and I looked at each other with the same idea. He spoke up and asked if this would be something we could tag along for.
We headed up the road to KJ’s buffalo farm to get the necessary equipment. After darts were filled with drugs and the air gun tested, KJ and his friend Lee loaded a three seat, four wheeler onto a trailer and we headed for the cattle pastures.
KJ explained that he would be treating for something called hoof rot. This is a bacterial infection that causes the skin between the animal’s toes to rot. You can spot the infected cow by its limp.
Instead of explaining what happened next here is a video.
The views were amazing and the pursuit was thrilling. I was pretty happy the wind had kept me on shore that day.
KJ gave us a couple packs of buffalo jerky and sent us back to the campground with one of his vehicles to get ready to go to town. His wife, Crissy, and several of their friends joined us for dinner at his brother’s restaurant, the Fin and Feather. KJ picked up our tab and we went next door to the bar.
It was a Sunday night but the recent rains meant the farmers wouldn’t be harvesting in the morning. This, combined with the Sturgis motorcycle rally kicking off the next day, meant that this Pollock, South Dakota bar was hopping. After the bar closed at midnight the patrons moved to the sidewalk where drinks were enjoyed with grain silos in the background.
My plan was to hit the water very early to take full advantage of the forecasted tailwinds but the late night didn’t make it too easy. KJ let us stay in their camper that no one was using so that helped speed up the packing process in the morning. With not enough sleep I headed out for the South Dakota border and a big mileage day on Oahe. I paddled away thankful for everything that the day before had turned into. Who knew a little town like Pollock South Dakota could be so fun.