Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break with Dad (Day 6) - Wildlife Stop

Today was mostly a travel day, driving from the Glacier National Park area back to Missoula to fly home. We are waiting to board our flight as we speak.

So, just a short post to write about our wildlife stop on the way.  We made a brief visit to the National Bison Range.  The bison (Bison bison) is also called the American Buffalo, but is not in fact a "buffalo."  They were nearly hunted into extinction in the 1890s.  There were once 50 million that roamed the plains, and now the population is up to about 500,000 (half of which are in Canada).  But, their tale is a tale of successful salvation.  In other interesting facts, a male bison is around 2,000 pounds and adult females are about half as heavy.  They roll in dust to get insects off their skin.  Despite what they appear, they can actually run as fast as horses and can be aggressive if they feel threatened.

Driving around in the range (free entry) was pretty great actually, like going on a forest-land safari.  Bison are quite regal in their demeanor some how - majestic with an architecture that almost defies physics (their head is huge and the whole body is perched on these delicate-looking ankles).  It was snowing which added to the aesthetics of the experience.  Besides a handful of bison we also saw some pronghorn antelope (Antilocarpa americana), which took their sweet time crossing the road - they knew what they were doing.

bison in snow furries
pronghorn antelope
All in all, it was a nice little stop to wrap up my Spring Break with Dad.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Break with Dad (Day 5) - Country Crossing

Today was mostly a travel day, returning from the Banff area to the Glacier National Park (Montana) area, but we made a few short stops on the way.

First was a quick stop at the Continental Divide.  A silly, tourist sort of thing, but stopping reminded us of where we were geographically.

Next was a stop for a short hike at Radium Hot Springs.  We followed a trail up a hill and spotted some big horn sheep on the way.

We drove on into the states, and then made a stop at Whitefish for a walk on their Riverwalk Trail (pedestrian trail) before getting dinner. Then we finished off the day with ice cream at Sweet Peaks (homemade ice cream chain only in Montana).

And...a little snow that came down in hail-shaped spheres.