Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.

Dart was in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  The Badlands National Park has the largest expanse of protected prairie in the National Park System.  It is partially surrounded by the Buffalo Gap National Grassland that also preserves the prairie.

Dart is in Badlands National Park (2018-1).

It was a very foggy and sometimes rainy day as we traveled through the park.  There were few visitors.  The higher the elevation, the worse the visibility.  It was eerie.  The badlands formations are very different anyway and when you add the fog to it, it was otherworldly.

Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.

We saw lots of wildlife.  I was fine with missing out on the scenic views because we saw so much wildlife.  We saw bighorn sheep, mule deer, prairie dogs, meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, white pelicans, a coyote, a Canada Goose, and lots of other birds.

Male Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park.
Female Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park with dense fog in the background.
Mule Deer bounding through the grasses in Badlands National Park.
Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.
White Pelicans in Badlands National Park. I think I just saw these guys not to long ago in Florida!

In addition, before the entrance to the park, we saw a cattle round-up.  I’m not kidding.  There were lots of people on horses and they already had all the cattle gathered in a circular enclosure.  There were a bunch of calves in with adults.  Regis thinks they might be preparing to tag the calves.



Sampling of the Southwest

I recently went on a trip to the desert southwest with my mom and sister.  They are from Maryland and I am in Florida, so we all flew to Las Vegas and met up there.  My plan was to show my mom as much of the southwest as I could in a week.  We spent a night in Las Vegas and lost some money in the slots before heading to Utah.

Las Vegas at night (1 of 1)
View of Las Vegas at night from our room in the Palms Place Hotel and Spa.

While in Utah we visited Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Bryce Canyon National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  It was a whirlwind tour!

Vermillion Cliffs 2 (1 of 1)
The Vermillion Cliffs.
Highway 12 (1 of 1)
All American Highway 12 running through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

The scenery is stunning.  This was my first time in the area in the fall and I loved the colors.  There were a lot of golds.  We also saw a lot of Mule Deer.  You must be careful driving anytime but they are more on the move in the early morning and late evening.

Deer (1 of 1)
Mule deer mom and her young one.
Utah Flora 2 (1 of 1)
Fall colors in Utah.
Utah Flora (1 of 1)
Fall colors in Utah.
Utah (1 of 1)
Fall colors in Utah.

While in Zion National Park, I saw a large bird, much larger than an Eagle.  I learned that there are California Condors in the area.  We spoke with a Utah state employee who had a station set up to help hunters save condors.  He said the condors fly from Zion to the Grand Canyon and there was a nesting pair in Zion, although the chicks didn’t make it.  He provides non-lead ammunition to hunters. If they use lead shot, then he requests they bring the guts to him for proper disposal.  The condors get poisoned if they eat the remains of an animal killed with lead shot.

1103 Hunters Helping Condors (1 of 1)
A program to help prevent condors from getting poisoned by lead shot.

I  prefer to visit the area in a motor home and spend more time hiking or sitting still, but we were trying to get a sampling of the southwest and only had a week to do it.    It was a lot of driving but worth it.

We spent the last night in Las Vegas on the strip and it was a big contrast between the wide open, sparsely populated spaces in Utah with the congestion in Las Vegas.  We had a great hotel room and enjoyed the food.  My sister was the only one who came out ahead after visiting the casino.  At least one of us did okay!

Dart was my best friend when I got home.  Regis said he was happy that his “toy” came back.