Friday, February 3, 2017

Camping Day 2

Saturday morning was colder than expected, the high was forecast to be 65 but it never rose above 54 because of thick clouds. We started out the morning with a 5 mile hike on the prairie, we didn't see much wildlife other than a few birds but we did see the cattle herd on the other side of the boundary fence.   
We took a small detour on a connecting trail to see the ruins of a cattleman's cottage, it is just over the fence (on private land) but it looks like many people jump it to explore.

A well
 For size reference 
Another TeeTurtle shirt, undershirt is from Walmart (years ago) and headband was a gift from my nephew.

 The area by the visitor center was under a controlled burn, I love walking past smoldering logs and stumps.
 Hiking builds up a healthy appetite, I made fajitas and quesadillas for lunch, it's quick and easy and my go to after a nice hike.
Later in the afternoon we tried out a woodsy trail, it was one we had to drive too as it came off from another area of the park. Immediately after entering the trail I noticed a painted rock perched on a stump.
A little ways down the trail I found another.
On a small side trail I found a car one.
The little side trail "didn't go anywhere" according to a couple coming off of it when we were headed down, if we had followed their advice we couldn't have spotted this rock or had the amazing encounter we had at the end. The trail dumped us right onto the prairie and just about 150 feet away were two stallions play fighting for the attention of a mare. They reared and danced around each other, we could hear their hooves clank and their teeth chomp. They chased each other around in circles and after a few minutes (which seemed like a lifetime it was so amazing to watch) they made up and started grazing. I got a few soft focus photos, they were moving too fast and we were constantly on guard to see if we needed to run into the brambles to flee. The whole experience was thrilling and well worth taking the small path that went to nowhere.

We returned to the main path and followed the trail out to an observation point, the last mile to the tower seemed like the longest leg of the hike, it never seemed to get any closer. However when we climbed to the top of the observation deck we found another rock. It certainly made the trek worth it.
  The temperature had dropped several degrees and the wind picked up. As we took a breather on the top of the deck it started sprinkling, we hid underneath and had a snack break while we waited for the rain to stop. I was glad we had switched to our heavier jackets and brought our gloves along, it was downright chilly. The rain lessened and we hiked back to our car.
I didn't spot any more rocks on the walk back so I picked up and looked at the squirrel one at the front of the trail, on the back was this:
I looked it up when we got back to camp. It is the group on Facebook, not the page. They are a group of people paint rocks and leave them all over to brighten people's days. What a cool idea, I would love to get a group together in town.

The rain started back up as we were cooking dinner and stayed around (off and on) the rest of the evening. We turned in early after we burned the left over firewood in one big fire, sitting in the rain is no fun. Overall we hiked 9 miles that day so an early bedtime wasn't all bad.

I have one more post coming up with lots of critter pictures.

Some Bunny Loves You!