Destinations · US Travel · USTravel

Rocks, Wine and Pecans in the Southwest

Having spent the last month in Phoenix, Arizona, the Twosna Travelers are now officially snowbirds. Snowbirds are people who spend the warmer months in the upper regions of the United States and “flock” to the Southern states when it becomes cooler. We’ve spent 95% of our lives living in places with cold winters. I realized I didn’t like cold weather around the time I was in high school, while Cal has only recently arrived at this realization.

But if one is going to winter in Arizona, one has to get there first.

A lot of folks will zip from El Paso, Texas on interstate 10 to Tucson or Phoenix without giving anything a second look. We did stop in El Paso, but it was only to leave Sam (our 5th wheel trailer) plugged in and snoozing peacefully there for a week while we drove to Denver for Thanksgiving with our family. We’ll have to give El Paso more of a look another time.

On the way back from our Thanksgiving trip, we stopped off for dinner in a little no-name restaurant in a little no-name town just north of El Paso. This cute little house was right next to where we parked.

Deming, New Mexico

What drew me to Deming was the idea of going to Rockhound State Park, located just southeast of the town. At this park, one can just pick up rocks and keep them, unlike any other state or national park I have been to. Geodes, jasper, onyx, agates, and perlite are some of the rocks that can be found. Upon doing further research, however, I realized that the best rocks are to be found only on the remote trails, and they have already been dug pretty deeply. A person would need to have a pickax slung over their shoulder as they hiked, and some pretty good equipment back at home to split them open. Despite my interest, I have total ignorance on the subject, and would have rocks in my head to think that I should add more heavy rocks (and weight) to Sam’s load. Cal politely pointed none of this out, but let me figure it all out all on my own. So I contented myself with the nature trail in the park, and picked up a few small little rocks that fit in my pocket to add to my growing collection.

Still wanting to learn at least a little more on the subject, we stopped at a rock shop outside of the park. The ancient proprietor of the establishment was more than happy to have someone to talk about rocks with. My rocks are garden variety rhiolytes, formed as the result of (surprise, surprise) volcanic activity. He used to pull out a lot of geodes with his partner, now passed, at his claim somewhere in New Mexico called Baker Egg Mine. He had some beautifully split and polished geodes, but all I wanted was a small one that had only been split – much easier on the budget. I’m not sure that I learned much, but I still like picking up pretty little rocks. I guess I don’t need to know what they are. The small oval one fits nicely in the palm of my hand, and is surprisingly smooth.

Spring Canyon – Rockhound State Park

The funny thing about all this is, while I thought Rockhound would be the highlight of our time in Deming, the highlight for me was actually the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum, billed as “New Mexico’s largest free museum”. It is located in their old Armory, built just two months after the famous Pancho Villa Raid in 1916. It became a USO during war time, and then the museum with its repository of many collections. And yes, a large collection of…rocks.

Thundereggs straight from our rock shop proprietor’s mine

The Mimbres people lived in this area as far back as 1000 AD. Their pottery is something Deming is very proud of, as can be seen in this mural and fountain in downtown Deming:

There were pieces just like these in the museum

Whenever I’m under an outcropping of rock just like this, I always like to imagine how the people lived who took shelter there. This painting did a fine job of showing that.

The museum went on and on. There was a huge doll collection, rooms with antique furniture, storefronts showing actual Deming turn-of-the-century establishments and what would have been there, and many other varied collections from area residents over the years.

We passed some time in a couple of local wineries, and restocked our wine cellar. Lescombes Winery was a large establishment and their parking lot was so large that we could have stayed the night there (for the price of a bottle of wine or a tasting, of course). The wine was good, but we preferred the wine at Luna Rossa. They weren’t such a large commercial operation and their wines were cheaper and complementary to our (un)sophisticated wine palate.

Willcox, Arizona

Full-time RVing, fun as it may seem, is still full of the ups and downs of ordinary life. One of the downers for us is the on-going trouble we’ve had with our left front jack erroring out during leveling, and the amount of battery power needed just to get Sam up and down off of Frodo’s (the truck’s) hitch. It got worse with every stop we made. Our stop at the Willcox KOA was supposed to be one overnight, but we canceled some plans and made the decision to stay for five, so that our arrival in Phoenix would be our last until some repairs were made.

KOA parks can be good or bad, depending on who is running them. This is true especially of KOAs located just off the highways of America, usually used for only an overnight stop. The Willcox KOA is indeed off the highway, but when learning of our situation, the kind folks put us in a spot furthest away from it, with a much-coveted tree on the site. It’s pictured at the top of this post. We watched people painting and upkeeping the grounds every day. There is a restaurant (with excellent gyros) and a heated pool on-site. Just this past week, I read a newsletter from the KOA national organization which named this park a “rising star” in the franchise for 2021, and I would definitely agree.

What softened the blow for having to stay in Willcox was being able to visit Chiracahua National Monument, 40 miles away. We lived in Arizona for a couple of years back in the 80’s, and one of our favorite tent-camping stories is from a weekend we spent there. One evening, a pair of skunks wandered through our site while we were sitting in our lawn chairs. We froze in place, not daring to move, as they sniffed around and actually passed right underneath us. We were lucky we didn’t get sprayed! It was fun to drive through the campground again, a wooded oasis right under the tall rock cliffs, but we wouldn’t be able to stay there in our 5th wheel. Chiracahua is an other-worldly, magical place:

The rocks at Chiracahua are in columns, pinnacles, and balanced rock
“Claret Cup” rock, which shows how impossibly a lot of the rocks are balanced.
“Organ Pipes”

We had an audience for our picnic lunch at Chiracahua:

Three birds, plus one in the bush. At one time we had seven birds all watching us, hoping for a handout. We had some fresh crusty bread so I hope they were happy with the crumbs we left.

Starting in Roswell, New Mexico, but also in southwest Texas, southern New Mexico, and now Arizona, we saw a lot of pecan farms. In Roswell in early November, the leaves were still green on the trees. By the time we got to Texas, the leaves that we saw on the trees were changing color. There was a farm near our KOA, so we had a nice chat with Paul and Jackie Lee. They were happy to take us around. I’m munching on their pecans as I write. In mid-December, they were only three weeks away from harvest. This is a very small operation, so they send the picked nuts out to New Mexico and Texas for processing, then the shelled nuts are returned to them. They are then placed in one of several chest freezers for sale all year round, until the next harvest.

The nuts can’t be harvested until all the trees lose their leaves. Some nuts fall in the process, so when the leaves are raked, Paul puts everything (minus the leaves) into this separator to get the rocks and other debris out. He welded this contraption together himself, like so much of his equipment.
Final result..and the real harvest hasn’t even started
The orchard is the Lee’s retirement project and they planted all the trees themselves in the early 80’s. The trees are now in their prime.
Almost ready for harvest; the outside pods have to be open, like most of these are, and the nuts inside have to be dry. They were expecting a bumper crop.

Like Deming, Willcox also has a healthy amount of wineries, but as we were already extended on our wine budget, we limited our purchases to pecans. By the way, if I have made you hungry for pecans, the Lee’s pecans can be purchased on-line. Who knew this was such a good climate for growing grapes and pecans?

Cal was nursing a cold during our Willcox stay so this was pretty much the extent of our activities. I entertained myself with many enjoyable walks into the desert around our KOA. I’ll leave you for now with some of the pictures from those walks.

What a big, fluffy bush! The un-fluffy part looked like bittersweet, the tiny white “filler flowers” in a bouquet of flowers from the florist.
A very late autumn burst of color

Next time – Phoenix!

Destinations · US Travel · USTravel

Alpine, Texas

The Desk and The View

Back in the Eighties, three students decided they needed a quieter place to study than their dorm rooms at Sul Ross University. They hauled a desk and a chair all the way up the hill behind their dorm. They greatly enjoyed their spot and spent a lot of time up there. One of them accidently left his notebook in the desk, and when he returned for it, he was surprised to see a hiker had signed it. The notebook, the desk, and the chair became the stuff of legends. By now the desk has been replaced two or three times and there are several filled notebooks in a museum. I kept running into suggestions to “Hike to The Desk” in my research for this area of Texas, so we did.

It isn’t the easiest hike. The trail is only 1.3 miles to the desk, but there is a 219 foot ascent on a rocky and uneven trail. Once up at the top there are several trails crisscrossing each other and we had to ask some other hikers where to go. It is on the opposite side of the hill from the university. I couldn’t believe they hauled a metal desk all the way up there! These bicycles in a tree let us know we were finally almost there:

Cal signing us in The Notebook
On the side of The Desk
Sul Ross University and Alpine view before our final descent

Once down, we visited Museum of the Big Bend, since it was located on the university campus. Being a fan of petroglyphs, I thought this 17 foot replica of a remote petroglyph was interesting. The original was done in six colors of pigment and belongs to a hunting gathering culture dating back to 700 AD. The meaning is unknown, although archaeologists think it relates to their belief system. It looks like a lot of scribbles to me, but what do I know?

There were some very old maps, and I also liked this recreation of a general store, back in the 1800’s:

An 1836 map of Texas, the first to show the Rio Grande to the 42nd parallel

There was an art festival going on in the town, which was a huge deal before COVID hit and canceled it last year. Someone in an information booth gave us a walking tour map to see Alpine’s murals. It was fun looking at these. These were some of my favorites:

A pretty little courtyard

If I could pick Alpine up and move it closer to my family in Denver, I would love living there. It is a small, walkable little university town with a lot of flavor. And the milkshakes and Mexican Wedding Cakes at Scoops Creamery weren’t bad either!

Next time – On the road through the Southwest

Destinations · US Travel · USTravel

Southwest Texas

Enjoying the view of Lajitas Mesa from our RV site

Merry Christmas to all of my readers! Life is running a little slower this holiday weekend, so it seems like an opportune time to catch up on where the Twosna Travelers have been. I thought of doing a blog post from Texas to Arizona in one fell swoop, but that was entirely overwhelming.

The truth is, our time in the extreme south of Texas was absolutely golden. We loved the area, particularly the capriciousness of the landscape – flat desert with mostly all one type of cactus here, a mesa suddenly poking up there, a set of hills made out of ancient volcanic ash, canyons and hoodoos. When driving, we would find ourselves all of a sudden in the middle of the most jaw-dropping scenery. The nights were cool and the days warmed up, it never rained, and there was a new direction to head off in every time we were ready to go. If we didn’t, then Lajitas Mesa gave us a wonderful view every time we looked out our window. Here is another view with a look left of the mesa:

The piles of hardened volcanic ash look man-made to me, as if looking at a quarry or gravel and concrete business. The fact that they have been there millions of years makes it all the more fascinating. This view is partly in a state park. The RV park, and the resort in Lajitas that it is part of, sticks up like a thumb into Big Bend Ranch State Park, and somewhere in there is the border between the two.

It was like a moonscape, and we enjoyed some short hikes right from our RV into it:

Mexican Heather growing in the wild – something I planted every year in my flower garden
A prickly pear with the biggest spines I’d ever seen. Don’t dare come close!

It was a thrill one day to see a road runner cross the path near our RV:

One of the highlights of our time here was the day we drove through Big Bend Ranch State Park. Its border is the Rio Grande River. The scenic road, at the very bottom of the United States, winds up and around hills and canyons, always with the river on the left (going west) so that one is always looking at Mexico on that side, and more of the state park on the right. Here are two views of the river at Madura Canyon:

Closed Canyon was a “don’t miss” stop. It was our first slot canyon, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of these as we travel further west. It was marked as an easy-moderate trail but as the canyon walls closed in, the trail became very rocky with steep declines from one layer to the next. The rocks were slick and smooth with lots of crumbly gravel thrown in. We finally called it quits when one dropoff was so deep we couldn’t figure out how we’d get back up!

Entering the canyon – easy enough
The trail was not too bad at first
Cal looks so small compared to those canyon walls!
One of those steep dropoffs!
A place of awesome beauty which made us feel significantly small in the universe

Once back on the road, we stopped to check out a scorpion scurrying across:

From here, we entered the land of the hoodoos. Hoodoos, by definition, are tall, thin spires of rock that stick up from the desert floor. Mostly they are relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements, and are formed within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.

Along the road, this was our first glimpse of hoodoos, and this one looked like a shaggy dog to me:

Several hoodoos at a scenic stop

Our last stop, Ft. Leaton, was a total surprise to us. We thought it might be another western military outpost, but no…it was a trading post used from 1848 to 1884, but the last family lived here until 1925. The original owner had a Mexican wife, and after his death, she remarried and stayed on at the post. Lots of murder and mayhem went on here, and the post had a major fire in later years. Archeologists have found artifacts, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife completed a faithful restoration job. The walls are adobe and the inside rooms were cool and comfortable. A lonely state park ranger was pretty excited to show us a video and then we walked through. This was a very fascinating stop.

Ft. Leaton
A corner of the inner courtyard
The parlor, one of many rooms in the restored family area
Carretas such as these may have been the first wheeled vehicles to enter the United States when the Spanish first brought them in 1590. The wheels on this carreta are 6 feet tall!

Fully loaded carretas were so heavy that it took 10 to 12 oxen to pull them. The carretas here transported goods, most commonly Mexican silver bullion, on the Chihuahua Trail to San Antonio, Texas.

In the picture below is a fence made out of ocotillo, a common desert cactus.

The view from the bakery window
Of course, after this, a picnic was in order!

Before turning around, we decided to drive on in to Presidio, TX and discovered a grocery store! We had been deprived of a real grocery store for weeks, so this was very exciting. There was also a plethora of various dollar stores owing, we think, to the fact that Presidio is a Mexican border entry town.

The town of Terlingua was a short drive from our RV park in the other direction. It is a ghost town, but has a small artist colony which makes for some interesting shopping, and a handful of restaurants. The biggest thing that draws people to Terlingua, though, is the cemetery. It dates back to the early 1900s and is still being used. Many of the graves are of Hispanic heritage but then there is a hippie vibe to it, too.

In the early 1900’s, Terlingua was a mercury mining town and helped supply the WW1 war effort. The town was booming but there were mine accidents, gunfights, and the 1918 influenza epidemic. The town declined through the mid-1900’s and demand for Terlingua’s mercury was not repeated during WW2.

I had fun exploring the ruins of some of the houses. They were so small, and the doorways so short!

This church reminded me of one that has been in the news lately..the movie set shooting.
A 1930’s movie theatre, which is now a great place to eat, have a drink, and listen to live music. All is not dead in Terlingua.

Our RV park, Maverick Ranch, was part of the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa. Like a poor cousin, the park is set back across and down the road from the resort. While there was nothing at all luxurious about Maverick Ranch, you could be entertained for days at the Lajitas Golf Resort, especially if you play golf. Whatever Lajitas was before the resort was built, the tiny town is now all about the resort. There is an airport built specially to ferry in the vacationers. If you need more entertainment, there is horseback riding, ziplining, jeep tours, and a concierge to arrange whatever it is you might need. There’s also a “boardwalk” (made out of cobblestone) for shopping, although I couldn’t begin to afford anything in the shops. A couple of restaurants/bars round out the offerings.

Down the long driveway from Maverick Ranch, there is a cemetery smaller than the one in Terlingua:

We made a personal call on the Mayor of Lajitas, which is… a goat:

Our last evening in Lajitas, we took a stroll under the starry skies, and a full moon, over to one of the bars at the resort. It was a great way to say farewell to an area that we had enjoyed very much. We are on the lookout for long-term places to winter in the future. If we could boost our phone and internet service, Maverick Resort would be a sure contender. Cheers!

Looking at Big Bend National Park from Terlingua Starlight Theatre, Mule’s Ears on the right

Next time: Alpine, Texas

Destinations · US Travel · USTravel

Big Bend National Park – Chisos Mountains and Santa Elena Canyon

Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park

We were in Big Bend a full week, and it was barely enough to cover the highlights. Several people we talked to opted for a couple of hikes a day. Owing to the direct afternoon sunshine, and the fact that a lot of hikes necessitated a drive down bumpy rocky roads or hiking in open desert, one hike per day was enough for us. We visited the Chisos Mountains area after our Balanced Rock hike.

The Chisos Mountains go around in a circular fashion and in the middle is a slightly hilly area called “The Basin”. Big Bend operates another campground, a lodge and restaurant, and a park visitor center in the Basin, and many trailheads begin here. We didn’t even look around the Basin when we first arrived, because after the Balanced Rock hike we were looking for lunch. Several tourists were admiring this tarantula outside the restaurant.

I was opting to be cool, pretend I’d seen a lot of tarantulas in the wild in my life, and eat my lunch, but Cal had to go have a look.

There is a break in the Chisos Mountains circle called “The Window”. There is a 5.6 mile round trip trail that can be taken to it, but that would have been our second hike of the day. We opted for the quarter mile paved “Window View” trail. The view through the Window and out to the western part of the park was spectacular.

View of “The Window” from The Window View Trail, Big Bend

On another day, when we were fresh, we returned to the Chisos Mountains to hike the Lost Mine Trail. This trail is 4.8 miles round trip with an 1,100 foot elevation gain. It was one of those straight-up trails, but despite that, it is one of the most popular trails in the park.

There were several switchbacks, and at one point the trail was nothing but pure rock.

The trail left, and the trail right

Once we gained elevation, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Chisos Mountains.

I saw this same view on a postcard, and said it was a view of “Elephant Tusk”. That might be the formation in the top center of the card. It doesn’t look like an elephant tusk to me, though.
Being at this altitude and looking down on the mountain peaks was pretty exhilarating!
At the top
The only wildlife we saw was this lizard, perfectly matching the rocks it lives on.

At the top, I inched my way around the corner of the rock we were on, and dangled my feet while I looked at the view below. There was nothing but air straight down. It was a bit dizzying, so I didn’t stay for long!

In the western side of the park is another “can’t miss” hike, the Santa Elena Canyon. It is at the end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which in itself was a treat. There were many places to stop on the way, a nice way to see the park if one wasn’t inclined to do a lot of hiking. We visited the ruins of Sam Nail Ranch, an oasis of green sunk into the hills. It was supposed to be great for birding, but we didn’t see birds.

The Nail family once called this their home

Another stop-off, this time to see “Mule’s Ears”, below

We admired the purple cactus on the way. I had never seen purple prickly pear cactus before, and there were areas where there were more purple than green.

And, a blooming ocotillo. These usually bloom in the spring, so this was a surprise. A whole area of blooming ocotillo in the desert is really a sight to see.

The rock behind the ocotillo is called “Cerro Castellan”, and was a landmark for those traveling along the way. We had stopped for a look at Tuff Canyon, which we ended up hiking in for a bit. The area we were driving through had seen major volcanic activity millions of years ago. There were over 20, and some minor ones, which created the landscape we were seeing. “Tuff” is hardened volcanic ash. This canyon was an unexpected surprise and I would have loved to explore it further.

Santa Elena Canyon lies at the end of this scenic drive. At the beginning of the canyon, we had to figure out how to get around the creek that feeds into the river. The other hikers showed us the way.

We had arrived at Santa Elena Canyon. The walls on the left are Mexico, on the right is the US, and the Rio Grande River is in the middle. I had a mistaken impression we could wade over to Mexico, but it was too deep at this point.

The trail to get up and inside the canyon
Sadly, the end of the trail. We could go no further.
With Cal down the trail a bit, you can get a little perspective on how large the canyon is.
With my back to Mexico and the Rio Grande. I touched the bushes with my walking stick so…I was there

A woman we crossed paths with several times on this day seemed a little disappointed with the size of the river. “Rio Grande”, she said, “The word means big! Where is it big?” She had tried several paths on the river, and none panned out for her. Indeed, at times in the park, it seemed like no more than a trickle. It seems to me that at times when I’ve crossed over into Mexico further east than Big Bend that it was wider and deeper. Or maybe “Grande” refers to the length. Or maybe it used to be bigger? Who knows, but it was grand enough to me.

The Twosna Travelers at the very bottom of the USA

Big Bend is one of our least visited US National Parks. It’s a distance to go, even for Texans. There aren’t a lot of paved roads except for the main connectors through the park. With its combination of river, desert, and mountains, it was an amazing place to visit and I’m glad we were able to spend a week there.

Next time – Big Bend Ranch State Park

Destinations · US Travel · USTravel

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.

-Lovell Drachman

Sierra del Carmen mountains in Mexico, Big Bend

From Denver, down we went to escape the coming of winter just as fast as we could: Raton Pass and Roswell, New Mexico; Guadalupe National Park, Texas. The weather stayed in the 40’s, fog and low hanging clouds. I was excited to return to the Guadalupes and thought we’d have a picnic lunch and maybe a little hike there. It was windy and cold so we ate a quick lunch in the truck.

Guadalupe Mountains: there’s a mountain out there somewhere!

Then Van Horn, Marfa and Alpine, Texas. The towns kept getting smaller and the scenery by the road more beautiful. Marathon, Texas; then 39 miles to the gate of Big Bend; 26 miles from there to Panther Junction in the park; and then, finally, 20 miles more to our RV site in Rio Grande village. It took us 4 days driving an average of 200 miles to arrive. That sign looked pretty good.

I was hoping this tunnel would be fine for our RV and luckily, it was.

You can see the Sierra del Carmen mountains peeking over the top of tunnel on the right. A picture of them is also at the top of this post, and brown/grey is their normal color. They are at the far east of the park, and at their feet is the Rio Grande River. That means that these mountains are actually in Mexico. We were closer to the mountains in our site, and the beautiful thing about them is that the sun turns them a beautiful pink as it sets. We enjoyed this show every evening while we were there.

We took the “nature hike” at an adjoining campground for our first look at the Rio Grande.

That’s Mexico over there behind Cal and the Rio Grande
A peek at the Rio with the Chisos Mountains behind
I discovered I really, really like to take pictures of all the various cactii

When we returned to our RV area, there was a coyote yapping in the parking lot. I don’t know what its problem was, but then we saw a few javelinas grazing just beyond our RV. Then, walking just beyond the RV’s over to an adjoining meadow, horses grazing! We were very excited to see all the wildlife and were hopeful this would continue every evening, but that was the best show. We learned from a ranger later that the horses weren’t wild, but belong to Mexicans just over the border. They just let them wander and graze until they want them. Unfortunately, the only good picture I got was of the javelinas.

These two javelinas posed nicely for me, although they wouldn’t stand right next to each other!

Boquillas Canyon, in the Sierra del Carmens, was also close to us so we took a hike there.

Along the hike to Boquillas, the Mexicans across the border had items left for sale in many places. Most everything was $10, and you would leave your money in a container. Near Boquillas, you could cross the Rio Grande over to a little village called Boquillas del Carmen in a rowboat for $5. Once there you could shop for a handmade item, or have a lunch in a couple of restaurants. Sadly, this operation was shutdown for COVID when we were there, and this cut off a good source of income for these people. But they are very enterprising, so this was their way of keeping a little money coming in. This fellow let me know his wife’s tamales were very delicious, so we purchased a couple of bags. He was right, they were excellent. And I’m happy to report that the Boquillas del Carmen crossing has been reopened since we left the Big Bend area.

I watched these guys, over in Mexico, setting up a volleyball net. I think they were surreptitiously keeping an eye on their merchandise.

Also close to us was Hot Springs. Cal got his first experience on the Big Bend side roads in getting there.

It was a one way loop with steep dropoffs.

Hot Springs was actually a little resort from the 20’s to the 40’s.

The old “motor court
Petroglyphs on the way to the hot springs
An immense yucca tree; you can see how large it is by looking for Cal on the left.
Here I am, taking a soak in the hot springs. It was very hot! The resort had built a spring house around it which is gone now, but the foundation of it is good for sitting on.
The hot springs, and the Rio Grande next to it, was a popular swimming hole and an enterprising woman over on the Mexican side was taking advantage. This was a large group of partying Americans who were suddenly hungry for tacos and tamales.

Many people who love the national parks bemoan the fact that sites which were once little-known are being publicized by influencers on social media. They are becoming more crowded and, in some places, becoming literally trampled over by excessive usage. I see this as a double-edge sword. It’s not great that we couldn’t find a parking spot just to take a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. But necessity has led the Park Service to create a park shuttle service. The overusage in the parks is leading to some pretty creative and innovative ideas. Social media, namely a National Parks Facebook group that I am in, led me to this next spot in Big Bend. Park literature didn’t show a picture of it, only to name the trail. It is this spot: Balanced Rock, on the Grapevine Hills Trail. Once I saw a picture of it, I wanted to find it.

Cal usually obliges my curiosity about things, but heading to this trail necessitated a 7-mile drive down a dirt road in the desert which became more “washboardy” the farther down it we went. After a lot of bouncing around I was relieved when we finally arrived, since his good humor was just starting to dissipate.

“THAT ROAD”

The trail was 2.2 miles and very easy except the last 1/4 mile, which was straight up. We enjoyed the scenery along the way.

Breakfast time-this deer only momentarily stopped its munching
I think this is a claret cup cactus, sitting way up high on the rocks

The last 1/4 mile involved clambering up rocks with hands and knees in places. It was an accomplishment to arrive at the top!

We had to climb up this trail, and then back down

What a grand adventure. I will continue our exploration of the park in my next post, because there is still so much to see!

Next time: Chisos Mountains and Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park

Destinations · USTravel

Fall 2021 – Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado

Cherry Creek State Park, Denver

I last left my readers in Duluth, Minnesota, but we have been back in Denver since that trip. This autumn season has been packed with things going on each day. It’s been interesting and entertaining, but it hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. I’m still finding my way through the slowness of the internet and my computer. In these beautiful fall days, I’d rather be outside, pursuing non-computer related activities, or enjoying the little time we have left here in town with my grandchildren!

But to pick up that trip just a little, we had back-to-back stays at state parks in two states on our way back. The first was Platte River State Park south of Omaha, Nebraska. We were here for a family reunion some years back. My oldest brother had to stay at an RV park down the road because there were no RV sites at Platte. That has changed with the addition of a new RV campground, with full hookups, just completed in the last handful of years. This time, we were there to spend some time with my sister Gloria, who rented a cabin in the park. We also went in to Omaha to catch dinner with her husband Chuck. This waterfall is an easy hike, and is one of the centerpieces of the park, besides the Platte River. I also caught a pretty picture of the little fishing lake early one morning while walking over to Gloria’s cabin.

It’s always fun to have a “girls day” (if you identify as a girl, that is) and Gloria and I did that with a day in Lincoln, Nebraska. We toured the Capitol Building. It’s different than others I’ve seen. The original building, which was built like typical domed capitol, actually crumbled while sitting on ground that was too soft. This one was built in the 1920’s and looks much like that era to me. There was a lot of beautiful artwork meaningful to Nebraska laid in the architecture. A guide took us through and pointed out many things I would have missed.

Gloria, looking quite lovely in the sunshine

After walking through downtown to a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch, we finished our day with a visit to the International Quilt Museum. This quilt was one of my favorites.

On another day, Gloria drove us through the Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari, which is just down the road from Platte. I was happy to see this sandhill crane. From late February to early April, over 600,000 sandhill cranes migrate on the Platte River valley before heading farther north. That is something I’d like to see some day – but I don’t know if I’d want to be in Nebraska at that time of year!

After leaving Platte River SP, we headed directly southwest to Tuttle Creek State Park just outside of Manhattan, Kansas. Manhattan was a place we called home for four years and both of our daughters were born at the hospital at nearby Ft. Riley. It is the kind of small university town with huge leafy trees that you would expect to find somewhere farther East, and we loved our day to day life here. We have traveled down memory lane several times in Manhattan, so our purpose this time was to catch up with our friends Gayle, Roger, and Gayle’s niece Annalise. All of the roads around Gayle’s berm home on a hillside are dirt, so they have ATVs. Of course we all had to go for a ride. Cal and I have been on many conveyances in our life, but this was our first for ATV riding.

Here we are with Annalise, who at eleven has her own ATV and rides it around her neighborhood like other kids might ride a bike. We rode to the top of a hill for a great view of the Kansas countryside.

Gayle and Roger are big Chiefs fans, and it was game day.

Gayle kept us on our toes, so we didn’t have a lot of time at Tuttle. It is a pretty park which could use a little TLC. They are building a new RV area, though. It was odd to be overnighting at a park we had only driven around in our former life here. It was too close to home, back then, to camp in.

Early morning view from our site at Tuttle Creek SP
Turkey vultures getting in a little beach time

Back here in Denver, Cal and I have been homebodies this fall, enjoying our grandchildren and keeping busy with day to day life. But we did get in a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The rumors are true – this park is busy and we had to make an advance reservation. Arriving early morning, the parking lots were already full and we had to use the park shuttle. Sort of makes me miss the days when we would go to a park on a whim and just tool around. We’ve been to Rocky Mountain several times, so on this day we just headed directly for the trail. We took an eight mile hike to “The Loch”, a pretty mountain lake. It was straight uphill all the way with an elevation gain of 950 feet. The Loch was at 10,190 feet. The beauty all around us was incredible.

An aspen glade, about a week before peak fall color
Alberta Falls
This sign, after we had been steadily climbing. “Really? Another 1.3 miles to go???” Needless to say, Boulder Field was out of the question.
Cal giving the thumbs up: “We made it, it’s the lake!”
This stellar’s jay perched right in front of me as I was eating my lunch. It didn’t seem like it was looking for food as much as it just wanted to say hello.
Loch Vale, Rocky Mountain National Park

Back here in Denver…

I’ve been part of a group of ladies called Wonderful and Witty Women. The forming of this group coincided with my arrival in Denver. We are mostly grandmothers who have moved to Denver in order to be closer to our grandchildren. There is a Monday morning walk at City Park with breakfast on the patio at the golf course, another morning socializing at a community garden, a new book group is forming, and there are other activities depending on whatever someone dreams up. Some days several people might be missing, but then there are always a couple others I haven’t met yet who show up. It’s been a great way to stay connected and I will miss my new friends when we leave town. They know I’m a full time RV’er and there are no rules here, so I can just show up again in the spring.

Walking on a summer day in the park
Breakfast on the patio another day
Last walk with the group
City Park, Denver

Other events:

Our daughter-in-law’s parents came for a visit; this is Marion and Josie
We all bought zoo memberships and enjoyed Friday mornings at the zoo
Lots of great RV breakfasts in our DLH attire
Goodbye, Cherry Creek. We’ll be back when spring comes again.

There was also an awesome trip to New Orleans to visit another one of my sisters and her daughter, but that will be blogged another time.

Next time well, I’m not sure about that yet!

Destinations · US Travel

Duluth, Minnesota: Part 2

The marina at sunset

Once my husband and I started a family, we tried hard to come to Duluth at least every 18 months. One year we’d come in the summer, another year we’d come after Christmas. In between all the family visiting, we found things to see and do. The snow was a novelty in the winter, since we did not receive much snow at home in Missouri. We would snowmobile and tramp around Canal Park in negative temperatures with a cold wind blowing. Ships would come in with layers of ice piled up on them and dripping down the sides. There would be light displays and we would put on layers of clothing to go see them. In 2013 we came up after Thanksgiving for a family celebration, and got snowed in with an epic storm. Well, it was epic for us but typical for Duluth. It had never happened to us before, and we have never been Up North since, in the winter.

Duluth also has the Great Lakes Aquarium, the aforementioned Maritime Museum, a railroad museum and various rail excursions, a zoo, the William A. Irvin ore boat and the mysterious Glensheen mansion to tour, plus sightseeing cruises of the harbor and the lake, just to name a few. We’ve done all of these over the years, plus hiked and biked on various trails. We’re always on the lookout for something new. We found two new places to hike. Cal probably ran through these woods when he was a boy, although he doesn’t remember.

Trails converging in Chester Park

For our Chester park hike, it was getting ready to storm and hardly anyone was out. The woods were hushed, verdant, and damp. We had no idea where we were going, so that added to the feeling of mystery. We turned around and retraced our steps as soon as we felt the first drops hit!

Chester Park trail
The trail followed Chester creek though some pretty waterfalls, although the water was low from an unusual summer drought.

We also hiked Chester’s twin, Lester Park, with its aptly named Lester Creek:

All things are possible! Climbing this rock was my little challenge for the day.

Seeing the Lester Creek bridge did trigger a memory for Cal: one night he was in the same parking lot where we parked the truck, drinking with his buddies. A cop came by and didn’t make trouble for them, but they all had to pour out all their beer. He was really mad about the wasted beer!

In both Lester and Chester parks, we really felt away from it all. You would never know you were in the middle of Duluth. They were substantial walks and we never saw any houses.

Near Lester Creek is Seven Bridges Parkway, which really does have seven pretty little one-lane bridges. It dates back to the days when people enjoyed getting out in the horse and buggy for a Sunday afternoon ride.

At the end of the road from Seven Bridges , someone’s yard was lined with these beautiful flowers:

We also took a drive along Superior’s North Shore to the town of Two Harbors. I can’t remember ever having been to Two Harbors when it wasn’t foggy and cold. For this visit we had a beautiful day, and a picnic over looking the breakwater. We had almost finished when the Edwin Gott came into view.

Of course we had to watch it park! We sat for awhile and admired the captain’s expertise in parking such a huge ship along the ore dock. The great hopper on the left of the dock will come down and deliver the load of iron ore.

It was such a nice day, we walked on the breakwater:

From there, we could see the Two Harbors Lighthouse, which is the oldest working lighthouse in Minnesota. A pilot house from an ore ship sits in front of it.

What a day for a daydream…

We had seen the Edna G tugboat on the evening news, so we went to look for it. She was sitting on the other side of the ore docks. The Edna G is celebrating her 125th birthday and is now a museum ship.

Of course, it was time for some pie, and Betty’s Pies delivered. Mine was strawberry-rhubarb, and Cal’s was apple. Delicious, and too good to share just one piece! This will be a new favorite place to go.

There are a number of places for dining and treats that we always like to visit while in Duluth. Sammy’s Pizza is one, as well as Bridgeman’s for ice cream. Grandma’s down in Canal Park is good but we didn’t eat there this time. A trip to Coney Island cannot be missed.

The problem with Coney’s is that one Coney is not enough. So I tried two, and forgot that it comes with this huge plate of fries! Waaaaaay too much food, but oh so good. It’s the only place and time where I ever eat hot dogs.

Cal’s sister Jane and her husband Dan gave us the royal treatment. They showed up with breakfast in hand for our first morning at the marina. They invited us to their cabin on a lake for lunch another day. It is fun spending time with them now that all four of us are retired.

Enjoying a ride on the lake in their pontoon boat
The lake level was low due to the drought, but the lakeshore was beautiful
What a lovely, idyllic place to come and relax. Dan is always fixing or improving things at the cabin.

We also visited our niece Sarah, at her store – DLH Clothing – in the up and coming Lincoln Park area of Duluth, and were able to have some private shopping time even though the store was not yet open for the day. We just happened to run in to her and her husband, Mike, on the boardwalk while we were riding bikes. They were trying out some e-bikes. They let Cal give it a try, which he thought was pretty cool. I wasn’t brave enough.

Of course, here is the reason for our trip – Cal’s Mom! We had lots of time to visit, and I really appreciated the fact that now that I’m retired, we don’t have to squeeze a trip to Duluth in just a handful of days.

This blog has been longer than I would have wished, but there was so much to pack in. So many pictures, and plenty that I had to leave out. For multiple reasons, we truly are looking forward to the next visit.

Next time – Anyone’s guess…

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Duluth, Minnesota: Part 1

On Lake Superior’s shore

Duluth was the farthest northern and eastern point on this trip, and was the original reason for the whole journey. We wanted to see Cal’s family, particularly his mother. It had been a few years since I’d been there, less so for Cal, and COVID conditions finally seemed to be right for visiting her in her senior citizen’s apartment.

Home is wherever we are

Would you want to stay in an RV spot like this? How about if this (below) were your view? We were at the Lakehead Boat Basin Marina, and our nine days here flew by. In my limited experience of RV’ing so far, I can say that there is no where else I’d want to be stuck in a parking lot, but it’s where we’ll return whenever we come back!

Lakehead Boat Basin Marina, with a view of the lift bridge

Cal was born and raised in Duluth, except for a few years when his Army Dad moved the family to various assignments. He started bringing me here the year before we were married. That was more years ago than I’d like to say, but I loved it from the start. I hadn’t been to a whole lot of places in my life yet, although I thought I had, and it was unlike any other place I’d been. I can still say that there aren’t many places like it, and every time we return, it feels like coming home. It has a 50’s and 60’s feel to it, a hearkening back to days when life was simpler.

The center of focus is Canal Park. At its core, there is a lift bridge that takes cars and pedestrians to Park Point, a long spit of a peninsula lined with mostly older summer homes, but people do live there year round. A canal leads from Lake Superior and under the bridge into the harbor, where the Big Lakes ships receive ore from the northern Minnesota mines and head back out again. The lower platform of the bridge raises when the ships are coming through. The ship blasts its horn (called a salute), the bridge operator returns with blasts of its own, and it has been nothing but pure family entertainment for decades. Cal’s Mom reminisced about his grandpa loading up whatever grandkids were around, and heading down to the lake whenever a ship was sighted. His Dad would also ferry all his siblings down, and there would often be ice cream for a treat afterwards.

The Arthur Anderson coming in to the canal

Whenever we heard a horn blast, we would drop what what we were doing and hightail it down to the bridge. It was only 5 minutes from our site, which is why we chose to stay there. There were two different occasions when we were out grocery shopping, saw a ship in the lake when we drove back over the bridge, and scurried around the RV to toss the groceries where they belonged so we could go see.

Arthur Anderson under the bridge, with a view of Duluth on the hill beyond

I was very excited to see the Arthur Anderson. It was the last ship to have contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald, which famously sunk in Lake Superior in November of 1975, and was the subject of a hit song by Gordon Lightfoot. It was the first ship on the scene when the Fitzgerald sank, looking for survivors, but there were none. It’s hard to believe that a ship this old would still be plying the Great Lakes, but we saw some that were even older.

On a good day, and particularly on the weekends, the canal walkway is lined with spectators when a ship is coming or going. Behind them is the other part of the hill that Duluth is built on, which includes the downtown area. Tourism has grown in the years since I’ve started coming here. The Lake Superior marine museum has been next to the canal since the early 70’s (which does predate my arrival). The old warehouses behind Canal Park have been torn down or rehabbed and replaced with hotels, restaurants and shops. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view: local, or tourist. Before RV’ing, we depended on hotels or bed and breakfasts for our stays in Duluth. We saw prices rise astronomically, and availability decrease, over the years. But the tourism has kept a city which used to depend on the steel mills afloat. A lot of the visitors come up from Minneapolis/St. Paul on the weekends.

Sometimes it got pretty chilly out there on the canal!

Some ships are quite long, such as the Mesabi Miner. It stretched all the way from the front of the canal, at the lighthouse, almost all the way back to the bridge.

There are other boats that use the bridge. Sailboats usually come in or go out together, so the bridge has to only be raised once, and then it only needs to go halfway up.

The disadvantage to staying on Park Point is that you have to build a possible wait on a ship or set of sailboats, if the bridge is up, to your travel time. In this picture, it was time for all the sailboats to go out to the lake and we waited a half hour. If you look carefully to the left of the bridge, you can see the mast of one of the sailboats going through. We were lucky and didn’t have this happen often.

We had an anniversary celebration at the JJ Astor restaurant on the top of the Radisson hotel, which revolves. Cal took a picture of a ship in the harbor while we were up there. Afterward, we walked around the bridge area, which is beautiful lit up at night.

Some of the folks living on Park Point have the harbor as their back yard. One resident had a beautiful garden that we could enjoy on our way out to the bridge.

Sometimes we could see a ship going in or out in the harbor right from our marina
Enjoying a harbor view with the company of another RVer’s dog

In Canal Park, along Superior’s shore, there is a boardwalk that the city has lately rebuilt after the last bad storm wiped it out. They’ve had to do this before, so this time they erased the beach and built it up with a lot of rock. That has caused a lot of controversy, but hopefully they won’t have to rebuild it again. From the boardwalk, you can see something called the Ice House. Cal says it’s been called that his whole life. In doing some research, I find that other people call it Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum. Harvey Whitney built it in 1919 as a sand and gravel hopper, and it was in use until 1922, when Lake Superior claimed it for its own. Its entertaining to watch people swimming to it, and playing on the rocks, from the boardwalk.

We took a long ride on the boardwalk one day
We were lucky to catch an excursion train going through. Fitgers, on the smokestack, is a local brewery.
Looking back at Canal Park and the bridge from a stop on the boardwalk.
Stormy skies
We enjoyed some amazing sunsets

I thought I’d put all of Duluth on one blog but it didn’t fit! We just had too much fun.

Next time – all of the other fun that we had in Duluth area, but probably no ships.

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Medora, North Dakota and Beyond

A black coal seam in the cliffs above the Little Missouri River

Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue

The gates to Theodore Roosevelt NP were less than a quarter mile from our RV park in Medora, and the town itself was right on the other side of the gates. We heard from several people that we should not miss the Pitchfork Steak Fondue dinner and the Medora Musical during our stay in Medora. Steak Fondue evoked visions of steak smothered in cheese for Cal. The fondue part was actually a vat of oil, with steaks plunged into it by the pitchfork full. I wouldn’t normally be up for a deep fried steak, but it and the dinner was actually very delicious. They serve hundreds of people six nights a week.

The dinner was at the same place as the musical, which performs six nights a week. We had some time to look around between dinner and the show. We were on top of a plateau, so there was a great view.

These elk tried in vain to get into the show for free

The amphitheatre reminded me of the Muny back in St. Louis, but this only seats about 2,800. We had a long way down to our seats, close to the front, and there was still time to check out the set before the show started.

Theodore Roosevelt, of course, is a favored son of Medora. But there was also a Frenchman, Marquis de Mores, who founded the town and named it after his wife, Medora von Hoffman. A benefactor of the Medora Musical, and the town, was the Mr. Bubbles creator, Harold Schafer. All of these people were portrayed in the musical, which told the history of Medora. There was even a reenactment of Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill. In between all the show-stopping songs, there was an acrobatic group called “The Chicago Boyz”. They were truly amazing but, unfortunately, I was so enthralled by them that I didn’t get any pictures. We both greatly enjoyed our evening.

Hiking on the Pancratz Trail with T. Roosevelt

Medora is very proud of all the new additions that are constantly being added to the town. One such item was their new hiking trail, the Pancratz Trail. Guided hikes on the new trail are offered, you guessed it, six days a week. Three days a week the hike is a moderate 30 minutes, and the other three are a 90 minute strenuous hike. I wasn’t sure which day was which and, as luck would have it, we were on the strenuous day. At the trailhead, we waited for our guide, and who should show up but Theodore Roosevelt himself? He is actually Joe Weigand, a Roosevelt impersonator. He has speaking engagements, performs a daily show in Medora as Roosevelt, and is an all-around Medora enthusiast and promoter.

One of Roosevelt’s favorite games was something called the “Point to Point” game, in which he would pick a point in the distance and a player had to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. A player could go “over, under, through, but never around”. Jogging was not a sport back then, but Roosevelt was known for hiking very briskly and Joe seemed to have adapted Roosevelt’s philosophy. He kept up a running banter even while going up hill, while we huffed and puffed behind him! He talked about all things Roosevelt and Medora, as well of the geological aspects of what we were seeing. Joe hikes this trail 6 times a week in the summer unless he has out-of-town speaking engagements, and only twice this summer has no one showed up for his daily hike.

If I was expecting a nice concrete and boardwalk trail, I was sadly mistaken. Pancratz Trail is a narrow dirt path and at times it was precariously on the edge of the cliffs. We had to climb up and down some rocks. At the speed we were going, it was all I could do not to tumble over the sides. To which I say, using Roosevelt’s own word, “Bully!” It was great fun. I could appreciate all they had to do just to create the trail, after Joe explained about its construction.

I love holes in cliffs. When we drive by, I want to fly up and explore them. Sometimes they are almost ground level, and I want to see if there’s a cave in there. In our drive through T.R.N.P, Cal made sure to let me know he wasn’t stopping for any holes. Well! There was a hole on the Pancratz Trail, and Joe stopped. The rock in this area is in a constant state of erosion between wind, rain, and drought, he explained, hence all the holes.

A view of Pancratz trail, from Pancratz trail

I didn’t take any other pictures on the trail – no time to stop!!

One thing that Joe, and the town of Medora, are very excited about is the construction of the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library on a plateau near the Medora musical. The opening is slated for 2025.

The Enchanted Highway

Gary Greff had a dream: to find a way to keep his beloved town of Regent, ND, from completely dying out. He decided to build huge sculptures and place them along the 32 mile stretch of highway south of I-94 leading to the town. He learned how to weld, and used cast-off farm implements, and the Enchanted Highway was born. Regent was a 75-mile drive from Medora, but we needed to sit after our hike anyway. After we saw the sculptures, we were on the highway, and then had a 40 mile drive back.

Here are some of them:

Tin Family to get a little perspective, see if you can find Cal!
Pheasants on the Prairie
Fisherman’s Dream

The local school closed while Gary was building his sculptures. He transformed it into the Enchanted Castle, a medieval style hotel with a tavern and a steakhouse. The latter two items were closed until evening while we were there, and I still think Regent has a long way to go. But kudos for Gary for living his dream.

This sculpture had a button you could press, and the whirli-gigs would spring into action
North Dakota country

Next time – we arrive in Duluth, Minnesota

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Coming north from Wyoming, we went through a sliver of South Dakota, giving Sturgis a wide berth. It was the day after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally ended, but I wasn’t taking any chances. We did see a lot of motorcycles – and vehicles carrying motorcycles – heading south, so our timing and location was good.

Well, there it is, we have offically entered North Dakota. After taking our pictures, I turned around, and there was the South Dakota sign, shot full of bullet holes. Great target practice on those faces, I suppose. There was a big pullout by the signs, which was a perfect place for a lunch stop. Then I noticed another signpost:

We were sitting smack dab on the Great Western Trail, which was a famous trail that herded millions of cattle from Texas to Canada between 1874 and 1893. Because of the trail, the ranching and livestock industry received a huge boost, and the trail also was a big part of North Dakota heritage. I tried to picture all the cattle and cowboys coming through as I ate my lunch.

It was still a long road to Medora, our destination for the day, and the hills were shrouded in forest fire haze.

I have seen pictures of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but I was totally awestruck by our first glimpse of it. This picture is of Painted Canyon, which also includes a park visitor’s center and rest stop on the highway.

It’s hard to understand why this park was given Theodore Roosevelt’s name without understanding the history of his involvement here. He originally came out to North Dakota to hunt bison in 1883. He invested in cattle operations – the Maltese Cross Ranch. Then, in a terrible double whammy, he lost both his wife and his mother on the same day – Valentine’s Day of the next year – and came back to heal and to find solitude. He started the Elkhorn Ranch, but ultimately lost a lot of money on the investment. He witnessed – and actually had a small part in – the threats to the environment caused by overgrazing and overhunting. Conservation became one of his major concerns, and as US President he created parks, forests, and federal reserves with over 230 million acres of protected land. In Medora, the town bordering the national park, he looms large.

“I have always said I never would have been President if it had not been for my .experiences in North Dakota.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

We started our day in TRNP early, with a hike, on the hopes of seeing more wildlife and less people. The visitor center at the South Unit wasn’t open yet, and neither was T. Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross cabin, but we checked it out upon our return. This is the original cabin, but it was moved here from another location.

On our way to our chosen trail, we saw a flock of turkeys and many prairie dogs. Prairie dogs have huge “towns” in several areas of the park. There was a turnoff where some young ladies were saddling up for a horse back ride. This prairie dog was irate that they were near his turf, and was “barking” up a storm. The comical thing was that, every time he barked (which sounds like a chirp) his tail would go up and down. I’m sure he thought he was being very fierce!

We hiked through fields of sage, and along and through the (mostly dry) small canyons created by Jones Creek. Then we saw them – bison!

We thought this was exciting, until we realized there was a herd, and they were commencing to cross our path. There was no going forward. This created a little bottleneck of hikers: two who had been ahead of us, and then some others came up behind us. We all oohed and aahed at first, taking lots of pictures. Mainly it was enjoyable to watch the herd just going about their day. We then discussed our dilemma: at what point would we be able to go forward?

The baby bison decided to have breakfast right on our path

This large male seemed to be the gatekeeper for the herd and stood on the path for quite some time, eyeing us and chewing on what looked to be dirt and rocks. He did slowly move off. Cal and I were the first of the hikers to move past. We decided he was not really interested in us unless we proved to be a threat to the herd.

When we saw a second herd off in the distance, possibly intersecting with the trail ahead, we decided it was time to turn around. This ended up being a 5 mile hike.

There is a scenic drive in the park, so we spent the rest of our time exploring in the truck, with a few short hikes at points of interest.

We climbed to the top of Buck Hill – it was windy!
Lunch with a view

We had an additional treat in store – wild horses!

It didn’t look like the colt had been long on its legs
A TRNP-style traffic jam

Next time – Medora, ND happenings, and a visit with Theodore Roosevelt