Wind Cave National Park is one of the last mixed-grass prairies in the US & one of the most complex maze caves in the world. I really thought I could handle the cave. It’s huge, right? How claustrophobic can it be? Well, it turns out plenty. Being in a group of 40 humans turning sideways to go through narrow tunnels one at the time? No thank you! The very kind ranger said my issue was not uncommon so they had plenty of photographs to illustrate just how tight it will get. Edward was as kind as always, but I bet he would have done fine. Settlers did not discover the cave until 1881 when Jesse & Tom Bingham noticed a loud whistling sound. The sound of the wind was coming out of a small 10-inch hole in the ground. Alvin MacDonald is credited with being the first person to explore the caves. He went through with a torch & a ball of string that he could follow out. Gracious, what prompted him to squeeze through that is unfathomable to me. It is estimated that only 5 % of the cave has been discovered to date! Turns out the surface part of the park is beautiful & rarely explored. We headed the truck down another dirt road, NPS 5. Amazingly, in the first mile, a bison herd of 300+ was blocking our path! What an incredible experience. We sat in their midst for a half hour just listening to them snort & bellow & watching the interactions between the bulls. (we were in the truck, of course). Some of them came within 10 feet of the truck. Super up close & personal. The calves are born in May & June and seemed to stay in family units. . The bison reluctantly gave way as we made our way very slowly through them. The prairie dogs have really made a comeback. Their holes are everywhere & they are easy to spot because they keep the grass clipped short. The colonies seem to be everywhere and are doing so well that the endangered black footed ferret was introduced. All is in balance so far. The ferret depends on prairie dogs for 80% of its diet so when the ranchers annihilated the prairie dogs, down went the ferret. Alas, we did not see a ferret, but saw 100’s of prairie pups. A lovely but steep walk to the highest point in the park yielded magnificent views & super cute squirrel pics. The little guy posed for his photo in a pine not two feet from the trail & seemed just as curious about us. We had intended to go for a hike through the prairie but reconsidered after our bison encounter. As exciting as it was, the truck provided quite a bit of safety & comfort.