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.
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.
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.
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.
It was time to move the motor home to keep every lubricated properly. We took advantage of that need to head on a short adventure to southwest Florida. We wanted to visit J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge again and chose Koreshan State Park in Estero as our campsite. It was considerably less expensive than the local private campgrounds and it was very nice. It is located on the Estero River, so we brought the kayaks.
The drive to Estero from St. Augustine was awful. It’s rough getting through the Orlando area and Routes 95, 4, and 75 are always congested. After we set up camp, we took the dog for a walk and I’m surprised that Dart didn’t wear out his sniffer on the walk. It wasn’t long but Dart sniffed every square inch. I was beginning to think we wouldn’t get back to the motorhome until nightfall.
The next morning we went on a hike through the historic site and found the biggest bamboo we have ever seen. It sounded a little creepy with the wind blowing through the bamboo and causing them to make creaking noises.
After Dart’s walk, we put the kayaks in the Estero River at the campground and headed down river. There are lots of houses along the river. The river looks very dirty. We only had to step in it to launch and then take the kayaks out of the water, but we hated stepping in it.
It was an okay trip. We saw someone paddle boarding with a beautiful husky. We were hoping to kayak all the way to Estero Bay but it turned out to be further than we expected. I was concerned about having the energy to return up river. There isn’t much of a current, but you still have to paddle against whatever current there is. We didn’t see many birds on the way downriver, but saw some on the way back. The tide was lower on the way back, so it would have been easier for the birds to fish.
After we got back, we ate lunch and then headed to J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It is only 18 miles from our campsite but took an hour to get there. It was worth it!! There were lots of birds. There were also lots of no-see-ums. Those are bugs you can’t see but when they bite you, you can feel it. I find their bites itch more than mosquito bites. Since we left the bug spray in the motorhome (of course!), we didn’t do any walking. My favorite bird to watch was the Reddish Egret. I love watching them fish. I got some video (see here) of one fishing. If you have never seen them fish, you should watch. I was using my regular camera with the long lens when I saw the Egret and it is hard to handhold and video with that lens so it is a little shaky. The tripod was with the bug spray back in the motorhome!!