17 Sep

In part due to the crowded conditions and the influx of rabbits at our previous location, we moved to Custer’s Gulch campground east of Custer on Friday. We spent a quiet weekend enjoying the rocky forested area just behind our parking place. On Saturday afternoon while relaxing with a book outside in the shade, I noticed Pippy alertly watching a form moving through the woods. I realized that it was a wild turkey, common here in the Black Hills. There were at least half a dozen working their way up the hill behind us. Cautioning Pippy to be quiet and ‘we don’t chase big birds’, I slipped inside to grab the camera.

This big guy appeared to be the leader and stood watch on a downed log while the flock moved up the hill. You can just make out one other bird approaching from the left.

Also noteworthy, are the mushrooms growing on our site.

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Are times A-changing?

17 Sep

I posted this earlier on my other blog site as my general approach has been to post personal opinion there. Rethinking, I decided to post it here too.

The ongoing news reports of women who accuse ‘powerful men’ of inappropriate behavior in the workplace reminded me of a conversation with a former boss in a government agency. She had aspirations to move up in the organization and ultimately did so. She related to me an earlier experience in her career involving inappropriate behavior of a member of our organization who also was moving up in the agency. She apparently chose not to report the incident and she did ultimately move up to a position of significance and later retired. To this day I’m not sure why she shared her story. Perhaps it was a warning as the man was still a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps it was guidance for how to behave if I had aspirations. At the time, I admit, my respect for her was somewhat diminished. Never having had to deal with such an event, I believed I would not tolerate such behavior. Now I know that reporting it in those days, over twenty years ago, would have likely only harmed her career. Better late than never, it appears ‘times are a-changin’.*

*I composed this piece before the current report regarding the proposed Supreme Court justice.

CSP September

11 Sep

As we always do while in South Dakota, our trip to run errands included a drive through Custer State Park to see the ‘buffyos’ and ‘deers’. Unfortunately we were delayed for half an hour as a motorcycle rider had run off the road near one of the ‘U-turn’ curves on the wildlife route.

U Turn Traffic Sign, SKU: K-7180

[there are two such turns]

 

Once we were moving again, we observed the bison. Usually we observe several discreet herds at various locations off the main wildlife route on some of the gravel roads. It appeared that all these were gathered and spread across a large portion of grassland. I would assume this is for two reasons. One, due to last year’s wildfire, many of the gravel roads are closed to tourist traffic as logging operations are ongoing. Hence, the herds may have been moved out of those areas. Second, the annual bison roundup scheduled for the end of September is fast approaching. This spectator event involves driving the entire bison population past the visiting crowd to enclosures using ‘cowboys’ and, unfortunately, some pickup trucks. Gathering the discreet herds in one place makes this event feasible.

Unfortunately from Pippy’s point of view, no deer or pronghorns were out and about on yesterday’s drive. Actually, it was not the right time of day for deer which we usually spot on the main road’s grassy areas. And it’s possible the pronghorns have moved away from the wildlife route to find vegetation that has not turned brown.

 

September Lakota Way

1 Sep

SILENCE

Grandmother Earth has a heartbeat, but there are moments in between her heartbeats when everything becomes silent Silence is good. We should not be afraid of it, nor should we be afraid to be silent. Silence is where you can make things happen. It is where you can bring people in. Sometimes if you are in the right place, the whole earth falls silent. If you know where to be when that happens, you will find the peace that comes with silence.

Joseph M. Marshall III

 

29 Aug

I set up this site to serve primarily as a travel journal and rarely to only rarely include personal opinions. Therefore I set up a separate site where I can occasionally do so. It’s called brindlepitbull.wordpress.com

Garryowen to Custer

28 Aug

We made the long, for me, drive from Garryowen, MT to Custer, SD yesterday and settled into our home base for a few weeks. It was good to finally get out of the smoke blanket that covers much of the West these days. I was appreciative of windshield wipers with intermittent settings as we had rain ranging from sprinkles to downpours most of the way.

I’m not sure all dogs react as my Pippy does but she gets very upset at the noise occurring when we inadvertently hit the rumble strips [we call them the bumbles] that line most highways. The annoying thing to me is that where they are placed varies. On some stretches of highway, they are slightly off the driving lane in the paved berm. In other places with equally wide berms, they are right under the white line on the left side of the lane. If mommy inadvertently has one of the rear duals stray onto those, poor Pippy has an anxiety spell.

If you travel much from state to state, the wide variation in fuel prices is amazing. In southern Montana on the Crow reservation, regular 87 octane was $3.40/gallon; in Wyoming at Moorcroft it was $2.76/gallon. Do you suppose the oil company is taking advantage of the Indians? Speaking of Moorcroft, we stopped once again at Donna’s Diner for lunch. I’m fascinated by such small-town gathering places. The waitress knows most of the patrons by name and often knows what they will order. And it’s enlightening to listen in on the conversations among them as they discuss local happenings – five or six at two or three different tables talking as if they were sitting around in someone’s living room.

In our travels we see lots of small towns that clearly have seen better days in the past. This is often indicated by boarded up store fronts or abandoned gas stations or buildings that clearly had a different use in better days. One town – shamefully I failed to write down the name – has a current population of 25 according to the sign posted at town’s edge.

We observed more ‘road kill’ than usual on the drive – at least eight deer and two pronghorns. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid occasionally bringing something of the remains along at end of day. This results in Pippy spending a good deal of time sniffing the tires and undercarriage. I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking.

 

Leaving Montana

12 Aug

Saturday was a travel day. After spending one lovely week at Glacier Meadow near Essex, MT, we bade adieu to friends, both two-legged and four-legged. You may remember that Glacier Meadow was our ‘getting acquainted’ location after I adopted Pippy. Her new best friend Scout spends much of his summers there with his mom and dad, Jody and Ken. After one last morning playtime, we began our trip back to South Dakota. As we moved southward on US 89, we eventually lost the signal from Canada radio stations. They are favorites when we’re ‘up north’ as they have, in my opinion, better and more intelligent programming than local stations.

Although smoke from the wildfires farther west had been barely been noticeable there, once we hit East Glacier the smoke was heavy enough to reduce visibility and the smell soon came in our vents. I stopped at the rest stop just outside Dupuyer for our lunch break and a short walk. One of our favorite anticipatory views of the Rockies as we move north and west each year was virtually obliterated. Here’s a picture taken on an earlier visit [too much sun but beautiful] and a shot from yesterday.