Friday, July 15, 2011

Slough Creek Camping – 2S2

Graham and me, in front of Barronette Peak.
Graham and I went camping where Hornaday Creek runs into Slough Creek.  The waters of Hornaday, where we had to walk through the flooded bank to get to our campsite on an island, will eventually head out into the Gulf of Mexico in the form of the Mississippi River – the route containing: Slough Creek, the Lamar River, Yellowstone River, and finally the Missouri River.  I don’t think the island that became our home for the night is usually there, because we had so much snow this winter that all the rivers, creeks and streams are flooded well above their typical banks.

We started at the Slough Creek campground that was a popular site to view the den of the Slough Creek wolf pack last year.  Many of the wolf pups in the park have not survived recently due to a strand of distemper, a common canine puppy disease, that has been affecting the last few litters.  (I don’t remember if that is what happened to the Slough Creek pack or not – it’s just been happening to a lot of the packs.)

A Bull Bison that ran us off the trail.
 At the beginning of the trail, we hiked up over a hill to be greeted with the shear rock face of Barronette Peak grinning down at us being gripped by the beard of winter’s snow.  We hiked along the banks of Slough Creek and through fields of the of spring’s painted show of early wildflowers –Vase flowers, Rocky Mountain Irises, Arrowleaf Balsam Roots, Phlox and others. 

Sandhill Crane feeding in a marshy area.
A bison ran us off the trail by being planted squarely in the middle with a menacing look on his face while chewing his grass. After climbing over that hill, we saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes gathering their dinner from a nearby marshy area. 

Shortly after that, we got to our campsite where we promptly set up – starting a fire, setting up the tent and making dinner.  We feel much more prepared and better equipped this year after our trek around last fall.  We still need to get better at packing food – we always have enough it just never really tastes like anything. 

Barronette Peak.
Our friends, Josiah and Berlynn, arrived well after the stars brightened the dark sky.  We went to sleep shortly thereafter and slept so well due to the sounds of the rushing water that ran only about two feet from our pillows (or balled up dirty sweaters).  We left early the next morning to pick our friend up from a canoe/camping trip.  I could have sat out in the field beside us content all day due to nature’s beauty that abounded us.

Total Summer Mileage:  116.7

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