Join the Herd
There’s a place in 101 Lakes County like no other. When you step out of your vehicle, even the crickets and birds sound different. Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve has a deep sense of peace about it. From the grapevines winding up the path to the gift shop to the gigantic crystals in the garden calm encompasses this place in a way you might not understand until you visit.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing owner, Dr. John Trippy for Voice of America several years ago. Since then, whenever I’ve been feeling especially stressed or wanted calm the children I care for, I’ve taken them to Wild Winds. Something magical happens when you visit. The world falls away and somehow no matter how long or short the visit, we come away feeling centered and balanced once again.
Of course the highlight of the visit is always seeing the buffalo. This year, they have more than 40 babies. The light brown/orangey babies can easily be spotted frolicking with the herd or maybe cuddling up with their mothers.
The ride out to see them takes only a few minutes and is filled with plenty of buffalo trivia and information from the driver and guide. Visitors must stay in a canopy covered open truck, for safety, but are often driven into the center of the herd. It doesn’t take long before the more curious members of the herd wander up for a closer look. Others could care less and go about their business oblivious to the “Ooo’s and Ah’s” from the truck bed.
Before heading back the tour makes one last stop taking visitors by a sacred memorial of the female ancestors of the herd. When it’s time to leave visitors are taught a Native American saying often applied to the buffalo, “Your life is now a part of my heart.” For many the sentiment will have lasting implications of peace, tranquility, or maybe just happiness.
Wild Winds located at 6975 N. Ray Road in Fremont Indiana is open from 8 to 4 daily, though they ask for appointments only on Monday and Tuesday. Tours run on the hour from 10 to 3. Adults are $10 each, children under 7 are $7 each. For those interested in a longer stay, there’s also a bed and breakfast. Check out the website at www.wildwindsbuffalo.com or call 260-495-0137.