Friday, May 17, 2013

Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge


Today I kept my date with the bison!!!
 
My first view of them from the GDB
 
So I get to the NWR visitor’s center this morning.

Me to the ranger: I’d like to see your bison, please. 

She: Oh, they were just here!

Me: Oh no!

Seeing my disappointment, she took me outside, quickly spotted a herd of about 30-40 on the horizon, and I took off.

Spent a long time among the herd watching their behavior.  Fascinating! 
Can you see the calf nursing on the upper right?
 
This one seems to be the dominant bull. 


 
 
They were completely unconcerned about my presence.  They grazed and I had coffee.  What an experience!  Just me and them. 
 
 

Eventually I went in search of Prairie Dogs.  I found a little town of burrows.  It was great fun to watch them run around barking. 

These 2 chatted for a while.
 
And I managed to capture the Nebraska state bird – the Western Meadowlark – in full yodel.



This NWR is so beautiful I can’t even describe it.  Stop and see the Sandhills if you can - an ecosystem like nowhere else on earth. 
Here are some photos of the NWR, surrounding hills, and the Niobrara.   (I wish Blogger allowed slide shows).

Visitors' Center


You can see the hills are composed of sand that moved in after the last Ice Age.

Swallow overhead.  To the right is a river launch.


See the Niobrara River in the center.
The Cowboy Trail.  It will eventually stretch 321 miles.

Came back to town in the afternoon, stocked up on groceries, got gas ($3.99/gal.!!!), and topped off my generator oil.  I’m staying the night once again at the Comfort Inn.  For an extra $5 I get shower privileges.  Money well-spent! 

But first, I had to get dinner at Valentine’s oldest eatery, 2 blocks away.  They’ve been in business since the 40’s. 
Cheeseburger and fries, what else?
 

Tomorrow I head toward The Badlands. 
But for now .... good night from my Little House on the Prairie.



Or as Judy would say ….
 
The End.
 

 

18 comments:

  1. That does look like a great place to visit. So glad you got to see the bison, very cool!

    Tina

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    1. It's has been great here, Tinabeane. I'm glad the town stuck in my mind all these 12 years and that I am fortunate enough to come back to visit.

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  2. LOL, "I would like to see your bison?" These pictures remind me of the time I was in South Dakota. I have a stuffed baby buffalo on the dashboard of my RV. "Red dogs", so cute.

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    1. It WAS funny. I realized it when it came outta my mouth. You know, they had little stuffed buffalo for sale. And I was so tempted to buy one!

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  3. Wow...I'm enjoying following along. Nice trip so far. You do so well keeping the blog up to date. If you are headed to the Badlands, you are likely so see lots more buffalo especially if you do the wildlife loop at the south end of Custer State Park. Don't miss Needles Hwy. It's a spectacular drive. Here is our blog starting at the Badlands. Maybe it'll give you an idea of some of the things to look for. http://carolyn-jim.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-badlands_16.html

    I'm not sure how well you have your trip planned but I see you like historical sites. We enjoyed the Little Bighorn a lot and the drive over the Beartooth Hwy was a great drive (google for some remote campgrounds on the drive). The west end of the Beartooth is near the NE entrance of Yellowstone. Happy and safe travels. Jim

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    1. Thanks, Jim for the link! I look forward to reading your account tonight.

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  4. Kim:
    What? No tent pitched on the ground with buffalo roaming nearby. I thought maybe you might want to return to your prior experience with the buffalo. Commune with nature?
    I hope to see buffalo in a few days in Custer State park. Your pictures of the Niobrara river brought back memories of kayaking with friends in the 70's.
    Bill

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    1. Nope. This time I met up with the buffalo on MY terms. It was better this time!

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  5. That's the spirit! Our National Wildlife Refuges are some of our nations best kept secrets. ;)

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    1. Right you are, Judy! I am the proud owner of a NWR passport book now. I'm gonna be busy!

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  6. Amazing! How much fun is THAT!

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    1. More fun than I even thought it would be!

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  7. That's absolutely MY favorite kind of day, kicking back watching rugged bison families do their thing, then the little critters in the prairie calling back and forth, running in and out of their holey homes. I don't know which I love best. Thanks for the great photos. :)

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    1. It was a wonderful day. I'm almost thinking that the GDB was an "investment". LOL!

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  8. Oh, Kim! What a wonderful visit! I love imagining what it would be like to sip a cup of coffee while watching the bison! Although I would prefer a little distance between me and that bull!

    I bet you are glad now that the Casita didn't work out. The Roadtrek seems just perfect for you.

    The hilly landscape is beautiful. And what a great shot of the meadow lark! And of the bison's rear end. :D

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    1. Sharon, you would have LOVED it! I wish you had been with me.

      Casitas still make my heart flutter, but you are right - for now, the GDB is ideal!

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  9. Judy has been teaching a lot of people to post "interesting" ending shots. :)

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    1. I know! Someone else I follow just did that - was it you?

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