Sunday, August 26, 2012

Road Trip - Grasslands National Park, Part 1

After visiting the petroglyphs at St. Victor, we headed west and then south towards Val Marie and Grasslands National Park.  Why did we choose the grasslands rather than some of the more northern lakes?  Most of you know that Derwin and I tend to do things that most tourists don't do and go on paths that fewer follow.  It's just the way we roll.  :D   Plus, we didn't want to have to reserve certain days and be locked into those days.  At Grasslands, they're never full so we figured that was the perfect place.

We were able to stay at the brand new campground at the park, the Frenchman River campground.  There are a couple taps of drinking water that you can use but other than that, there's no running water. That took a little getting used to but we managed.  :)  There was even a cookhouse for when the weather isn't great.  Here's our campsite with our tent set up:

This poor little grasshopper met with a sad fate on our van antenna:

One of the things I missed the most while living overseas were prairie sunsets.  Really, nothing beats prairie sunsets (though desert sunsets run a very close second).  I love, love, love it.

Here Der and the kids were using the telescopes to see if they could spot any wildlife in the valley.

Aidan and Kirsi really liked these rubber horse swings.

Our first night there, the meteor shower was happening but unfortunately, it was a little bit overcast so we weren't able to see a whole lot.  It took the kiddos a while to settle down for sleep - it was their first time sleeping in a tent (at least that they remember) after all!

The next morning we headed out to visit the area.  We followed the Ecotour and made some stops along the trail.  Here's picture of the kiddos and me on one of the stops:

The park is located in ranch country and is surrounded by ranches.  Here is a an old corral from a ranch that used to be on park land.

At one of the stops, there were some tipi rings from the Plains First Nations that lived in this area.  Here are Kirsi and Aidan on a huge rock that they came across while looking for the tipi rings:

Another stop was at the prairie dog colony which was on a crest of the Frenchman River Valley.  It was also along here where bison sometimes roam.  Aidan was a little nervous about encountering a bison so Daddy helped him out.

The prairie dogs were so cute - they chattered with one another and ran from hole to hole!  The kids liked trying to get as close as they could to a prairie dog before it ducked down into its hole.  Then they liked running to the hole and looking down it.

And we had to get a picture of the Texas gates that were along the road leading to the park.  We stopped on them a couple times so the kids could see that the bison couldn't get out and that the ranchers' cattle couldn't come in.

We spent the morning touring around the park itself, following the Ecotour.  Then we headed to the other side of the park for the afternoon.

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