Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bison on the Little Missouri

Leaving Watford City - quickly - we continued south on Hwy 85 toward our stopping place for the night.

The view from the road down toward the Little Missouri was like a scene from an old western.

Even from the lot while registering, we could tell this was going to be another special place.

Must be wildlife around here somewhere . . .

Oh look!  There's a bison now. 

Oh look.  There are three more bison.  In the road.

 And believe me, they walk v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

"What are you looking at?"

Eventually they meandered into the grass to graze and we were able to continue on to the campground.

This looks like a good spot:
 See the light glimmering line in the background?

This is what was in back of our camp site: our own spot on the Little Missouri river. That's river #7 for the trip, by the way.

A little farther downstream there was a place where there had been much trampling of large hoofs.

Just to demonstrate the size of the cow pies buffalo pies they leave.

Yes.  Bison in the campground.  While walking the dogs, Kady found and scooped up a hank of hair that one had left.  It was surprisingly soft; not what I had expected.

A wild flower of a species I haven't seen in the west.  I don't count North Dakota as "west".

Evening comes and light dances on the water.


North Dakota Boom Town

We left I-94 at Glendive and continued along the Yellowstone toward its meeting with the Missouri.  Just south of Sidney, MT we turned east and were soon in North Dakota.

Neither of us had visited ND before. Most of what I knew was 1) it's cold in winter and 2) there's not much there.  Or so I thought.  I once heard a comedienne say that she planned to write a travel book.  The first 20 pages would be blank and on the 21st would be the label "And that was North Dakota."

But then, I can be happy in places with "not much there."

 Little house on the prairie?

Serenity.  Though much flatter than I prefer my ground to be.

 But then we hit Highway 85, and the truck traffic started.  Trucks.  And trailers.  And people.

 And why?

 I guess there is something in North Dakota after all.   In the ground, that is.

 Watford City ND,  once a small town.  Wiki gives the population at the 2010 census - a mere two years ago - as 1,744.  Now, it's unbelievable.

 Miles of blocks of FEMA trailers last seen in Louisiana.  Park after park of trailers and RVs. The population has grown to thousands.

 CNN Money published an article about Watford City in October 2011: "Locals to Big Oil: We want our town back!"

Makoshika and the Yellowstone

In late spring at least, the Yellowstone is actually yellow.

Our final stop in Montana was at Makoshika State Park.  Another beautiful spot, well worth a future visit.

 There are a variety of fossils in the visitor center.

I am ready to go again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"This Rock I Ascended"

Pompey's Pillar National Monument, Montana

Some of you know that we have been Lewis & Clark buffs.  We started in 2004 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri, 200 years to the day the expedition started out.  Now there are few miles of their paths that we have not retraced.

 View of the pillar from the entrance to the national monument.

Formerly a National Historic Landmark, it has recently gained National Monument status. 

Glass teepee on monument grounds.  I just found it interesting.

A long staircase now leads from the base to the top of the rock.  No climbing skills are necessary.

 Plaque at the top.

This was one of the times that Tom pulled out his real camera.  The view deserved it.

Seen from the base before starting our ascent.

I was there!

 Fortunately now protected by glass.  Awe inspiring.

 The Yellowstone River (#6).

 View from the top.  You can imagine a herd of "buffalow".

 A portion of the staircase.

Rocks and River.  That's "it" for me.