Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Walk on Wednesday-Under a Bluebird Sky

When I set out my intentions the first of the year (wow, only two weeks ago)  one of them was to take a hike/walk somewhere out of the ordinary every Wednesday.  I'm quite bored with the walk we usually take in the park at the end of the street.  So I got online and looked at walk/hikes in the area.  Last week the weather was yucky but today was warmish and there was a bluebird sky!

There is a large county park fairly close to home so I chose one of the walk/hikes there.  We went to the Native Hooved Animal Enclosure at Fleming Park.  The map showed a walk around the enclosure of about 1 mile or a bit more.  

There are two species in the enclosure.  The American Bison, incorrectly but often called a buffalo.  Personally, I think the native name is better "Tatonka" (taa-tonk-a).  There used to be millions of these animals running free on the plains, before they were shot for their fur, their hump meat and  sport in the late 1800's.  They have made a great comeback-now you can buy bison meat (very lean) in some stores and bison burgers in some eating establishments.  I've done neither but plan to try a bison burger when I see one on the menu.  So how about being up-close and personal with these guys-okay behind a big fence, which, if the bison wanted  they could just take down!

Sometimes when you go out there the animals are at the back of the enclosure and you can't see them from the parking lot but today they were close to the road and lot.  People feed them often and well!  The signs say we may feed them apples, pears, and carrots- and they do love them!  The herd here is thinned each year and some sold off or they would soon outgrow the enclosure.  I think I counted 30 more or less-hard to tell when some are moving about.

The second species is the Elk.  Again better named by first nations who call it Wapiti (Waa-pee-ti).  Look at these guys!  I've seen Elk in quite large herds in Colorado (Like in the back yard) but here, like the bison, they do not roam free.

 This is the bull who hasn't shed his antlers yet.  He's big, very, very big! When we lived in Colorado I always worried that I'd hit one in the car as I'd heard of people who had, it always totaled the car/truck and sometimes the people were seriously injured.  Still they are quite majestic and very loud when bugling during rut!

Some of the bull's ladies here.  Everyone facing the same way--the direction the rangers bringing hay in come from!

After admiring the animals (Quinn really wanted to bark at the Bison, she soon learned I wasn't going to let her!) We set off around the enclosure.  They have mowed a wide path around the Bison enclosure and at least part of the Elk enclosure so walking was easy.  Up hill and down, as you should expect here, we went until we came to
Yep, a creek.  In summer I would have gone across it as it was shallow and Quinn would have gotten her feet wet but it's really too cold for my girl's feet so we turned around.  Going and coming we saw lots of this
A couple of birds but that's all.  This park is home to a large population of white-tailed deer-the ones we have in our park and sometimes in our yard at home- but we didn't see any.  It's also home to coyotes, and bobcats for sure and possibly cougar and black bears (I also read on line were there was a Big Foot sighting near there-really?) but we didn't see anything that exciting!

Back at the truck I untied my hiking boots to drive home-they are quite stiff and I have sore spots on my feet!

1 comment:

a good yarn said...

The Native American names for the animals are much better. The bison are a magnificent creature. We have nothing indigenous that size - all our native animals are small. The biggest would be a male red kangaroo. What a terrific park to have relatively close to home. Great pictures too. Just think of all the new smells Quinn took in.