Travel Journal — Rainy Day Turns Very Clear — August 28, 2007

Note: This “lost” Haw Creek Out ‘n About post was recovered from the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

The morning started out very cloudy with a forecast of 60% chance of rain. We had been planning on taking a 2.8 mile loop trail, but decided to wait awhile to see what the weather held for us. When the clouds lowered and it started misting, we decided to go for a drive back to Spearfish in South Dakota, do some shopping and see some different country on our way back.

On the way back it was still raining intermittently.

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In one section of Wyoming 24, the fill dirt under the road had settled a lot earlier this summer. Until just the last couple of days the road had been closed as a result.

We had gone over that section of road the day before and had been wondering whether the workers would be out in this kind of weather. Having lived in this kind of country before, we were not terribly surprised to see them out in the misty fog. There is not a lot of time left before the weather could get inclement to the point that the job will have to be shutdown until late spring.

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While the road is open now, there is only one lane open — and it is nasty muddy. It was a bit windy and cold and the flaggers were all bundled up. In just a short section of road, the truck got dirty enough that we need to take it to a car wash so that we won’t have to be careful of leaning or rubbing up against it.

On the way back from Spearfish the conditions must have been just right to entice deer to come out in the open. We counted 95 deer — almost all of them white-tails — between Belle Fourch, South Dakota, and Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, and I’m sure that there were many more that we didn’t see.

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Three of them were pretty close to the road and I got some close ups of one of them. I was very pleased with her doe eyes, but when I saw the second picture, I was surprised that it looked like she was sticking her tongue out. She’s really in the middle of eating, but it is one of the oddest pictures of a deer that I’ve seen.

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By the time that we got back to the campground it had cleared up considerably. Deciding to take a walk while it was clear, we first went over to the front of the KOA store. At the entrance to this campground, there are 2 artistically painted large boots. The first boot has the KOA logo on it and it is also painted on all sides.

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This is the other side of it.

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The other boot is also painted on all sides. The back of the boot has an image of Teddy Roosevelt and the front has an image of Sitting Bull. The side that is in this image is interesting in that it depict Devil’s Tower and above and behind it is the real Devil’s Tower.

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When we got to the overflow camping area on our walk , I changed lenses on the camera replacing the telephoto zoom with the closeup zoom so that I could get more area into the shot. However, just after I did, we spooked two deer and they took off running for the national monument. I didn’t have time to switch back to the telephoto zoom, so the images of one of the deer as she ran and then jumped the fence are not as clear and crisp as I would like.

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The area at the rear of the campground is by far the prettiest. It is wide open with a lot of tall cottonwood trees. One side borders the national monument and on another the campground property ends at the Belle Fourche River, with a red rock cliff on the opposite side of the river. There are a lot of photo opportunities in that part of the campground.

This photo is a twisted dead tree with the Belle Fourche (pronounced foosh) River, part of the cliff and other land in the background. The buildings in the picture are KOA Kamping Kabins.

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This is a similar image, except I’ve focused in on the grasses along the river, with the background intentionally blurred.

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The monument boundary fence ends right at the river and then picks up again at the top of the red rock cliff, as shown in this picture:

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Every month during the summer and when weather permits, a nighttime walk is conducted on the night when the moon is full. In the morning the weather looked like it would likely cause the walk to be canceled. However, after we got back to the campground from our drive earlier in the day, the sky just got more and more clear. By the time we headed up to the trail head where we would be hiking from, the sky was almost perfectly clear. This photo was taken with my camera held in my hand, no tripod. The night by that time was too dark for any other photos without using the flash. I didn’t want to use the flash because it would momentarily impair the night vision of the other hikers.

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We enjoyed the walk, though when we stopped for the park volunteer to talk, the breaks lasted too long. The temperature has dropped into the low 50’s and there was a slight wind blowing. Even though everyone had bought flashlights, the moon light was bright enough in the open areas away from the trees that you didn’t really need them. We started out on the trail at 9 P.M. and got back to the truck at 10:30 P.M.

camping, critters, hiking, Montana, parks, photography, travel, travel journal, wildlife, Wyoming
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