Where the buffalo roam

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CAPROCK CANYONS STATE PARK, Texas — The fictional Army colonel Sherman T. Potter used to exclaim “buffalo bagels!” when he suspected someone was feeding a line of baloney.

Well, we ventured today where one can find plenty of such commodities.

Caprock Canyons State Park is home to a large herd of American bison, bequeathed to the state of Texas by the heirs of the legendary J.A. Ranch.

We came here once many years ago, not long after the bison took up residence at the state park. They were penned in and, frankly, were a bit hard to see from the road.

Not today.

These days they have the run of the park. I’ve heard from state park officials over the years that the herd is doing well. We saw several dozen of the beasts as we drove through the park.

A cluster of bison greeted us — more or less — as we entered the state park after driving here from Amarillo.

We were certain to look at the signage near the park entrance. They warned us that the animals are “wild,” and that one shouldn’t approach or surround them. I guess the beasts get a bit spooked, so who am I face down an animal as ornery and strong as that?

Caprock Canyons State Park happens to one of those Texas Panhandle treasures one doesn’t hear that much about. When we in Amarillo talk about the sights to see in our part of the world, we usually refer to that other canyon, Palo Duro, which we call Texas’s version of the Grand Canyon.

Yes, it’s gorgeous.

So are the cliffs and draws that give Caprock Canyons State Park that special charm.

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