Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our First Work Assignment

Quintin knew we were anxious to get out on the refuge, and he knew we wanted to hike a trail.  He told us to go out and have a good time, and we could check out the trail markers to see how we could spruce them up at the same time.  "Oh yeah, and by the way, you might like to pick up trash as you go."  Sounds like a plan.

Now you should know, this trail includes the bison trail which is 6 miles in length...and this is the first day in the 100 plus degree range...and this is the one he would like us to do.  Alrighty then.

It's a nice day to start off, and I am taking my dear sweet time looking at things and before you know it it is noontime and we are not even half way through this trail.  More on that later.

The first thing I find at the trailhead, is a life bird, the Black-capped Vireo!!!

Sorry for the lousy photo, but you have to understand my excitement and the fact that this is a very active bird!!!  This bird is one of the reasons for being at this particular refuge.

The lake is coming into view, and naturally I have to spend some time scanning the lake for waterfowl.

Mostly Gadwalls, a few shovelers, some redheads, the usual, but I have to look.

Just happened to see this beautiful Copperhead just off the side of the trail.  Copperheads don't warn you they are near, in fact they don't even move until you are right on them!!!  But I can smell them!!!

Now we are at the top where the trail levels out for a while.  There are few trees, but there are rock outcroppings where these beautiful creatures call home.

The Eastern Collared Lizard and look at that smug face.  "Hum, another one of those human creatures."

Wallace is saying, "We need to hurry along now."  I'm not paying any attention to the time...I don't even wear a watch!!!

Now we are at another one of the 15 dams on the refuge, but it is a unique one, constructed by using rocks on one side.  Really nice to study, and that eats up some more time.

Now isn't that pretty?  Think about how that was done back then!!!  One rock at a time.  Oh well, back to the trail.  It's time to move on.  But then, look there is a beautiful spider web.  I wonder what kind of spider this is.

And this flower...oh, the Texas larkspur.

And check this out.  A milkweed with a milkweed bug, and a Gray Hairstreak.

"Carolyn, we need to get on with it."  "But look at that pink grape on that leaf....."  (gall).

In the background, is the rock dam.  Still doing well, still smiling, but it is getting hotter and hotter and we have been hiking over five hours now.  When we get to where the trail starts splitting up without any markers, I start to get concerned.  

We are now down in the hollow... .there is no breeze, it is HOT, we have only one bottle of water left between us, our radio battery is low, no phone service, and trails are splitting off without markers, and there is probably another two miles to go...I'm turning around!!   There are no photos now...we are totally drained.

We finally get radio communication and contact Quintin with our predicament.  We have to backtrack now and cut over the creek to be picked up at Lost Lake...BUMMER.  But I thank God that that cut over was close by.

Mission completed though.  We came back with a bag of trash and decided what to do with the trail markers that look like this.

Aren't they cute.  A good wire brush and some paint should fix them up nicely wouldn't you agree?

We got started the next day and painted about 15 of these signs.  We went back to see how they faired after the rain.  

"Carolyn, we need to keep moving."

Hope you enjoyed your hike on the bison trail in the comfort of your home...me, I would rather be out on the trail.

Until next time...


  1. That looks like a trail you will be walking over and over!
    Love your Collard Lizard photo. He looks like he dipped his head in powdered cheese sauce. Remember Kraft macaroni?
    Congrats on your lifer too.
    Oh, by the way, we're getting into the mid 20's at night ... brrrrr.

  2. we could have used some of that cool on that hike!!!

  3. great catch on the vireo and a pretty darned good photo considering the circumstances...

  4. Thank you!!! We will be following your posts as y'all travel out west. We love it out that way, way west.

  5. Carolyn if you are interested Trailer Life did a really good write up on Wichita Mountain in their March 2012 issue. Talks about a lot of things you have brought out in your blog. They even talk about those vireos! Enjoy reading the blog and looking at all your pics.

  6. Penny, you and Earn would like it here. I will see about getting a copy of Trailer Life. Thanks.