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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Autumn in the Badlands

It's been a long week. I needed to get away for a bit so even thought the weather was cool and gray I bombed out to the Badlands for a night. The campground was full ish. Unlike summer when people arrive late into the night and leave out early well before sunrise this crowd was pretty settled. I heard someone leave around 4am but generally the campground didn't stir until after sunrise.

I walked the next day, wandered really, and found myself headed towards the confluence of Sage Creek and the South Fork creek that runs by the campground. This confluence was one of the monitoring sites for the Badlands Monitoring project. I was trying a different route, one that I had attempted before but missed the confluence and ended up downstream at the Creek.  All who wander are not lost, sometimes we are are just trying again.

As always there were new (to me) things to see as I have not spent much time in the grasslands during autumn. Usually by now I move my hiking to the front part of the park with the formations.

The flowers were fewer although there were still a few hardy souls still blooming, particularly in the riparian areas near the creek.

The buffalo currant which is an early bloomer was mostly reduced to branches. The few leaves that remained were deep red. The guidebook says the buffalo currant is a favorite of deer to browse and I would have to agree.

Someone, I don't know who, is doing bioacoustic research. Sorry if my walking by and snapping a pictures fuddles up the data.

A first for me, I saw pincushion cactus. If a cactus can be cute, it's the pincushion.
 Those who know more about photography than I like gray skies for taking pictures since the light softens the colors. I have been trying to take a picture of the yellow mounds for a while and have yet to get one that I think does justice. This one comes close. 
I did do some tweaking on the color filter but only to make the photos look more like they actually did. I took this with my camera phone (I haven't upgraded yet) and there is only so much you can do with that.