Our last stop on the way to Michigan was the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which is on the southern edge of Lake Michigan. There is also the Indiana Sand Dunes State Park in the middle of the national park. It is not a contiguous park as there are several parts that are separated from the main section. This park encompasses a variety of habitats to see and learn about. The eco systems represented here are: lakes, beach, dunes, interdunal, marsh, swamp, savanna, prairie, rivers, bogs and fens.
As Bev mentioned in the last post, we decided to revisit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kansas on our way back east. The first time we visited was in July 2017. The grasses were only about 2 feet high. So, like many, we asked the rangers, “Where’s the Tallgrass?” They patiently explained (seems everyone asks that question) that the grass grows during the summer months and reaches its full height during the September/October timeframe. Then you can see the grass at around 5-6 feet depending on the amount of rainfall during the summer. Continue reading “There Be Tallgrass in Them There Hills”
Here are some more (better) pictures from Bev on Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. Her Nikon takes much better pictures than my cellphone. ….
The devastation brought about by lahars and the pyroclastic flow was extensive. Besides the 230 square miles of forest destroyed, animals were also killed in large numbers. It is estimated that 1,500 Roosevelt elk, 5,000 deer, hundreds of bears, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, etc. were killed that day. The monument was made into a very large observatory to examine how nature recovers from such a disaster. Where they could, the mountain and surrounding areas were left as they had been after the explosion in 1980.
The day after arriving in Castle Rock, we hopped into the car for a drive to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. We wanted to take a look at the mountain that blew its top in 1980. As we drove along, we kept expecting to see the mountain. We stopped in at a few viewpoints and visitor centers, but still no view of the mountain. It was hiding in a low cloud bank. The devastation was easily visible in the valley below us, but not that mountain. We finally decided to turn around and return another day to take it in.
After our visit to Seattle and the Klondike, we headed further west to the Olympic Peninsula for a visit to Olympic National Park. We set up base camp outside the little town of Sequim (pronounced “Sqwim”). The day after we got there, we drove to the main visitor center in Port Angeles. But first, we stopped at a small local restaurant called Nourish! for lunch. What a great lunch. Best we have had in quite awhile. Continue reading “Wandering Through Washington, Part IV”
July 26, we left Idaho behind and made our way into Washington. First stop, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. It was a nice drive from Idaho, except going through Spokane. I swear, they put a traffic light every 200 feet. And we were getting stopped at every, single one. For miles. Ugh! But we did have a great laugh before we got to Spokane. As we approached a small town, we saw a deer crossing sign coming up. When we got close, it said “Warning! Suicidal Deer.” That had us laughing for awhile!
As much as we enjoyed our stay in Rapid City, it was time to move on. On July 5th, we packed up, and as Bev was retracting the jacks, I noticed a big oil leak. We just had an oil change in Colorado so we weren’t expecting that. We called a couple of places but could not get an appointment to have it checked out. We decided to change the oil filter and see if that fixed the problem. (The oil was dripping off the filter). Lo and behold, after taking an oil bath, the new Fram filter worked perfectly. The one the shop used was bigger than the original equipment and I believe that is a problem with this engine. We will just have to remember to insist on OEM oil filters when having a shop do an oil change.
Here are the pics from our visit to the Badlands.
Talk about iconic. Who doesn’t think of Close Encounters of the Third Kind when talking about Devils Tower? They even sell copies of the movie in the visitor center bookstore! Rising up from the plains, it is very distinctive. The striations in the sheer walls, nothing like it anywhere in sight, it is definitely unique.