Lots of Hiking leads me to create a two part post.
Grasslands is one of our favourite National parks. It’s split into two blocks about 160km (100miles) apart. Eventually they might join but at the moment there is separation. One thing to remember in the prairies is: fuel is hard to get sometimes. Near the visitor centre for Grasslands National Park West Block at Val Marie is a fuel tank from B and A Oil that takes a few credit cards. The campground is a little over 30 km from the visitor centre and there is almost no cellular service at the park. Fuel up if you go, that way if you decide to do the Scenic Eco Tour there will be enough fuel to get back.
We set up and remembered the constant wind. This time it was a little stronger that we expected.
The sparrows at the Frenchman River Campground are plentiful and fun to watch. They chase each other around and when a bird of prey comes they gang up and often drive it away.
Lots of warnings in the park information guides about how quickly the weather can change. This trip, that quick change showed itself with high winds and dramatic clouds.
It was cool to watch the thunderstorm come towards us. The wind almost blew the shelter tent down and I added more rope to tie it to the ground on the windward side. But the sky was awesome to watch. When the rain arrived, it was furious and heavy for about 10 minutes then petered off.
Wandering after the rain has some interesting advantages in the grasslands. The scent of sage, grass, and the clean dust free air is refreshing.
Linda and Colin went on a talk about bison then a hike to learn about the uses of bison in the area through the millennia. I joined them for the last part of the tour and we continued the hike.
Fascinating how things grow.
I seem to have a fascination with mushrooms and hope to learn more about them. I doubt that I would eat the above ones.
There is so much about how everything comes together and I find it fascinating that flowers, cactus, grasses and so many other things make the landscape.
There are so many hikes that are easily accessible that it’s hard to choose.
The Eco-Tour is a great way to explore and learn about grasslands at Grassland.
At another stop the black tailed prairie dogs are abundant and curious creatures. They have a sharp high pitched bark and are incredibly social. When we walk through they warn each other and as we approach jump into their dens.
It’s a big landscape with big skies.
Along the Eco-Tour, there is the Walt Larson homestead that was used for raising cattle.
The buildings are in pretty rough shape, but still standing. No real vandalism was visible. I have mixed feelings about restoration and accessibility to his type of site. Very much like the orthodox church in an earlier post, I would love to be able to get inside and check out how they lived. I am not sure if a full restoration is a good thing as it would take away the feeling of exploration and discovery. Maybe a partial restoration so the buildings are a safe for people to check out…but then without staff presence I don’t know what would happen.
More of the park on the next post.