We arrived to the park and headed out on the 5 mile drive to the campground. About 3 minutes in, we had our first wildlife sighting, a beautiful herd of wild horses. I don’t know why, I’m not a “horse person” but for some reason, I’m drawn to wild ones. They were just happily grazing along the road. We stopped the car and took pictures from a safe distance, in the safety of the car. Other people were not that smart. We eventually moved on and then like 2 bends later, we were right in the middle of a ginormous prairie dog town. If you know me at all, you can probably my high pitched squeals of delight mixing in the with high pitch squeals of the prairie dogs.
After all this excitement, we made it to our camp site which was amazing. There were trees, it was huge, we had a direct path to the bathroom and their was an amazing view. We made camp, simple dinner of bagel sandwiches and then took a drive at dusk to look for animals. We were rewarded with a huge herd of bison, more prairie dogs and a single deer. As darkness rolled in, we returned to camp and with a slight concern of being gored by bison while we slept, we all settled in for the night and were fast asleep.
Saturday morning brought a beautiful clear blue sky and some warmth. The forecast was for weather near 100 degrees. We broke out the back pack burner and made breakfast. There was coffee, toasted bagels and even ramen for one camper. No roughing it here!
Because of the heat, we decided to do some sight seeing via the air-conditioned vehicles and man did we see the sites and the wildlife. There was petrified wood ( and I even know what that is now), a hot metal slide, a trip to Montana, amazing landscapes and wildlife I only dreamed of seeing. It’s amazing how much more you see when you get off the beaten path. We sent about 4 hours on gravel roads and saw the most wonderful things including bison, antelope, prairie dogs, grazing cows and 3 big horned sheep.
All the years I traveled with Steve, anytime we went near a mountain, I was on the look out for a big horned sheep. That’s all I ever wanted to see. And then we come around this bend and there is he is- perched on top of a ledge like he was waiting for us. (A big horned sheep, not Steve) He even just decided to lay down and stay there. It was really one of the moments that are kind of hard to describe. I know what you’re thinking – it’s just a sheep. But the thing is, I was looking for it the whole time I was with Steve and could never find it and here I am on my own ( ok – with my friends) and I find what I have been looking for all those years. The irony was not lost on me. So after taking like 47 pictures, we go further down the road and when heading back, we find 2 more and the original still on his post.
By now, it’s late afternoon so we headed into down for ice cream and things you buy in a tourist town and while we were there, the wind picked up and with it, came a welcomed cold front. Within an hour or so, the weather went from hot and icky to wonderful. We went back to camp, had more ramen and sandwiches for dinner -even though we had planned a better dinner, we were all spent and went the easy route. After an evening of relaxing, we all headed for bed about dark ( which was like 10pm there) and pretty sure we weren’t going to be gored by a bison, slept soundly in the cool night.