08 August 2010

Lacreek NWR

Young ferruginous hawk on his mountain

It should have been another errand- and chore-filled day up here. There is more than enough to do on both the professional and personal fronts. Weekend time is precious. We have three weeks left to complete the first phase of the move to the new building and to get ready for the big ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication.

In theory, I should be making the most of every minute with Getting Things Done Now.

In practice, we got up early this morning, left the phones at home, and drove down to Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge for a day of meandering down the smallest backroads imaginable and looking at the wildlife, buildings and achingly beautiful vistas.

Eastern kingbird sneering at the photographer

We needed the scenery, the abundance of bird calls and the near-total absence of electronic and traffic noises. Lacreek NWR is at the northernmost range of the Sandhills, just south of the White River Badlands, a pocket wetlands habitat in the High Plains. It was a Civilian Conservation Corps project, as many refuges were, established in 1935. It is in every sense an oasis.

Original sign, as posted at the Lacreek NWR site.

We had never been there before, and we found that it soothed frazzled nerves better than anything else we might have done. The phones and the errands and the chores waited for us, for once.

Here is a selection of eye candy from the day. Enjoy.

Church on Pine Ridge Reservation.

Abandoned cabin.

Technicolor beehives.

Lacreek NWR marsh.

Great blue heron.

Common nighthawk.

Scenic, SD.

Sign with many, many interpretive possibilities, most not suitable for a family blog.

Sign at our friend Kenny's ranch. Yes, that is a pteranodon and that is also a mosasaur on top.

Sign, Martin, SD

Yellow-headed blackbird

Q: Why did the sharp-tailed grouse hens and chicks cross the road? A: Better you should ask, why did it take them 15 minutes to do so? First you get everyone lined up....

...then you get everyone crossing in random order, back and forth....

...then you finally get them in place.

Splendid summer vistas are all too rare these days. Enjoy.

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