We saw so many amazing things on our trip. This guy was the most spectacular though. We were looking for a fishing spot and so we followed the trail down to a sweet bridge that was cloaked with tall greenery, flowers, and lily pads. As we walked out onto the bridge we startled a blue heron. We were looking to the right, watching it fly away when movement from the left drew our attention.
He was at least 14 ft tall with his antlers. It was incredible to see him in the water, 'just doin' what elks do', as Scott described it. He watched us for a few minutes. Probably hoping we would leave so he could finish his evening bath in peace.
Rude tourists that we were, we didn't, we couldn't. He was only about 20 yards away and I'd never seen anything like it.
So he majestically walked away.
We saw him again through the thick of the trees farther along the trail. What an experience!
I didn't have my camera with me, of course. This pic is from Scott's phone. If I'd had my camera I would have beautiful pictures of lily pad seed pods, the sweetest smelling flowers I've ever seen, and something else I thought amazing.
Frogs. ON lily pads!!!
Okay, sure. I've always known that frogs sat on lily pads. Seen it in books. Read it in stories. I've even drawn pictures of it. But this was the first time I'd actually SEEN it, in real life.
It was so neat. Like watching watermelons grow in the garden.
We see longhorns all the time, but the baby was especially cute. We saw more buffalo together than I'd seen before. There was one herd that had at least 80 in it. They are usually in groups of 15 or 20. It gave a slightly better perspective of what a sight it must have been back when there were thousands that roamed the plains. Obviously not the same....but the dramatic difference in group size helped our mind's eye.
We saw the canyon wren, lizards, fish, hawks, turkey buzzards, elk, buffalo, longhorns, and lots more.
Oh yeah.....and we can't forget the largest, most highly trained pack of raccoons that I've ever met.
There were about 9 of them. One huge mama was the leader of the pack. They came up and went straight to the corner of the tent's zipper. Unzipped and started searching. They had several different tactics. Some would distract while others snatched. We finally took everything we could to the car, and opened our extra tent so they could wander in and out.
We tied up our tent zippers and slept.
Some of us slept.
Everyone but Scott slept.:o)
He kept the raccoons from breaching our defenses.
Our raccoon issues were purely my fault. I was an idiot and didn't think about the vast amount of food security that would be required in a car camping site....lol. Those raccoons have had lots and lots of folks to hone their skills on. I'm sure there are people who think they're cute and feed them so they can watch. Or those who finally toss them food so they'll go away.
They have quite a thriving business going. Fat, Sassy, and with no concerns about people at all.
The second night we wound up back at camp kinda late. So supper was cooking as the sun went down.
This brought on an invasion the likes of which I have never seen. It was all I could do to keep our supper safe for the people it was intended for...lol. They circled me and kept taking turns trying to grab food from the pan.
Literally. There were 9 raccoons within 7 feet of me and they would dart in. it was crazy.
We've decided that next time we go we're going to use bear country tactics and eat at a different camp than we sleep.:o)
But it was definitely and experience the children won't soon forget.