Another full day spent at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Again, went out in the morning and evening
and spent the middle of the day doing work at my campsite office.
Rose hips and prickly pear cactus.
This was intriguing. As I came down off of Buck Hill this bison was right near my car.
I waited till he moved away and then watched as he straddled the cable fence and
then scratched his belly on the post. He would rock back and forth and did this for
more than five minutes.
Little Missouri River.
Wind Canyon. Sandstone worn away by wind and water.
Deeper in the canyon.
Unfortunately, much of the sandstone, especially at the beginning
of the hike, has been scratched into by people, leaving names, dates.
hearts, etc. Further on in, where it narrows, the sandstone is not defaced.
When I returned to camp I talked with some new neighbors, John and Freya.
John is an Australian who has been living in the states for nine years. Both he
and his wife, Freya, an American, are poets. John also plays the didgeridoo.
Good talk about poetry, spirituality, landscape. We'll keep in contact I'm sure.
Prairie Dog Town. There are many of them in the park.
Moon and sagebrush.
Sun and Juniper.
I didn't stay out till after dark this time as I wanted to catch
the ranger show at the campground amphitheater. The last two
nights they had interesting ones but I chose to stay out hiking
as the sky grew dark and the stars appeared.
Tonight's program was about the Civilian Conservation Corp work at
the park back in the 1930s. A fascinating program that gave a lot of
detail about the boys who were part of the crews that worked in the park.
Also a good bit of background information about the CCC itself.
Emily, the park ranger who presented the program, displayed her passion
for this subject. She also related a few personal experiences in discovering
remnants of the CCC work at the park. She was especially excited about
finding a gravy boat buried in the clay soil along the Little Missouri. This
was a gravy boat that was used in the mess hall of one of the CCC camps.
Had a pleasant conversation with Emily afterwards as the getting-close-to-full
moon shone bright above the Badlands. This reminded me of conversations I had
with my friend Lois, who was a park naturalist at Acadia back when I lived there
in the early 1980s. Both of them, Lois then, Emily now, relayed the excitement
they felt at being in a spectacular natural world environment. The National Parks
are special places. Refuges from the encroachment of civilization. Yet, as I stood
on top of Buck Hill late last night, I could see oil well evidence way off in the
distance. The National Parks are wonderful, but they don't exist in a vacuum.
There are always constant pressures on them from beyond.
So, I returned to camp, knowing I'll be leaving in the morning. It was a wonderful stay.
Part of me wants to remain, explore more. Maybe sometime in the future.
Left TRNP early in the morning. A dewy morning so tried to dry out the tent a bit before packing up.
Still a little damp, but I'll dry it out before setting up camp at Wind River Canyon, WY on Thursday.
View a few steps from my campsite. First rays of day.
Stopped at the visitor's center to get a picture of the metal work at the entrance. In the program last night, Emily spoke about how impressed she was with the artist's life and work, Einar Olstad, a Norwegian. A fascinating story about how he wanted to be a painter but then sold his brushes and paints because he had to work to support his family after his father became ill and then died. He took over the blacksmithing shop that his dad had. More about his life here.
Southwestern North Dakota from behind the wheel.
A little smaller than the Buffalo I grew up in.
In Rapid City I gave a reading for another assisted care residence.
This is the third one on the journey. I wanted to have varied venues
on this tour and I like reading at such places. The residents are always
very appreciative. It's a rewarding venue for me. There's almost never
any book sales at these places but I do receive a small honorarium.
A woman in a store ahead of me was buying beer and talking about how it's
darts night. A slip of the tongue then when she spoke: "beers-eye darts." I think
that was probably accurate too, though she didn't mean to say it.
The Black Hills are a fascinating area. I won't have time to explore much, mostly
will just be driving through tomorrow on my way to Scottsbluff, NE.
Rapid City has statues of the presidents throughout the downtown area. This
is James Garfield, who I think might have been an excellent president had he
On the way south out of Rapid City the road was filled with tourist attraction signs:
Rushmore Cave, Big Thunder Gold Mine, Soaring Eagle Zip Lines and on and on and on.
Drove by Rushmore.
Then Crazy Horse.
I had stopped at Crazy Horse Monument years ago. Never Rushmore. I don't care
for either of these abominations.
A beautiful late summer day driving through Ogalala National Grasslands.
While driving I saw three freight trains within 20 minutes of each other, loaded with coal.
Just north of Crawford, Nebraska. The current US 20 was just
a few hundred yards away.
The scene driving into Crawford. Sand Hill butte country. One
of my favorite areas along US 20.
The reconstructed cabin on the spot Crazy Horse was killed.
Fort Robinson State Park, Nebraska.
In Scottsbluuff, NE. A good friend and FootHills poet, Craig Czury
lived here for awhile many years ago.
A reading in Scottsbluff at the Lied Scottsbluff Library. A small turnout but once
again a great response, good conversation and many books sold.