Monday, June 26, 2017

June 23, 2017 The Badlands (Trip 2)

Friday, June 23 - The Badlands (Trip 2) and the Critters of the area.

Last night and all of today there has been a very strong wind blowing (@25-30mph) and the temperature has dropped significantly from the mid 90s yesterday to the low 70s today. We made a second trip to the Badlands National Park, this time taking the less travelled roads (i.e. the unpaved roads) which is the best chance of seeing the resident wild life. The first road (unmarked) took us to an unprecedented dry camping site with a fabulous view from a rim of a plateau, with a view of the valley below.

Then we took Sage Creek Road to Robert’s Prairie Dog Town (pop. over 1000 prairie dog homesteads). Just about everywhere in the park these cute critters can be seen with the dug out homes, sitting on their butts and standing straight up keeping a look out to warn others of approaching menace. Some were impervious to our presence and then others were extremely upset with our stopping to photograph them. Then we found a herd of about 40 bighorn sheep and then wild bison, all on the open range, crossing the roads and even just standing on it.

 Bill's sidewinder...
He has been so frustrated in not finding any rattlesnakes in the brush
that he placed his own rubber one on the ground and photographed it.

 Prairie Dog LOVE.


 Bison herds abound in the open range.

 A Burrowing Owl.
 This a**hole (probably a local rancher) speeding
in his old truck to scare the bison near the road.
 Aren't they beautiful?

 A grasshopper flew in through the open window
and made him(or her)self comfortable on Bill's knee.
 The road less traveled (unpaved)
Eventually we drove to Sage Creek Campground, which is very hard to get to with a motor home but we did spot a few small class C’s though mostly it is a tent camping campground. However with today’s high winds the tents were not fairing too well as the photos show.

 The White River (with a flock of Barn Swallows flying by) 
 The rustic campground at Sage Creek
After this campground we proceeded down Sage Creek Rd to Hwy 44 and saw some mule deer and followed it to Coneta Rd, which is an open range area. Then we hit the Badlands Rim Rd, stopped at the Cedar Pass Lodge, visited the gift shop and then drove on to the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, where we took in a short hike down a nature trail, after sitting in the car so long. Then we drove to and stopped at another trailhead, where Bill had to go rock climbing (because the other ‘kids’ were doing so). Then we drove on the Old NE Road, to leave the park and return to Wall in time for Happy Hour. It was a very successful and enjoyable day having witnessed fabulous landscapes and seen a vast variety of wild critters.  

 A mesa.

 Rush Hour (another car on the road).
 Bill's favorite sight... Wild Horses.
 A mule deer, not happy with our stopping and getting out of the car. There is little difference between the White Tail and Mule Deer, except the Mule Deer are bigger and have huge ears.

 This sign warns of it being 'Open Range' with critters roaming free without fences.
 Speed limit within the Park on paved roads.
25 if winding or on inclines and on unpaved roads.
 Love the changes of colors due to chemicals and ore in
different areas, and the different shapes of peaks and spirals

 Mary's Hole in the Wall.

 Beautiful cactus flower.

A Mountain Blue Bird
 Mary trying to push the rock down the embankment.


 "Well, are you coming?"

Bill just has to go climbing the rocks, because all the other kids were doing so.
Mary decided to stay below and photograph.

 As the day wore on, it started to get warmer and the jackets had to come off.

This was part of the Window Trail.

View from the top. of the trail.

More mule deer

Prairie Dogs Video
Bison Video
 Scenery Video

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