20090527 - National Bison Refuge
I got an early start heading North from Missoula on US93 toward the National Bison Refuge. Good thing it was an early start, because at least half of the ~40 miles was a major highway construction zone. Slow going. Wonderful big sky open rolling hills, mostly cleared, with a lot of lodgepole pine up toward their tops and farther in the distance. Even farther in the distance was Glacier Park, and the mountains in that were clearly visible, creating beautiful scenery. Leaving US93, signs pointed me around the South end of the refuge, then North for a few miles. I kept seeing birds so stopped for a while and looked down on some fields and shrubbery from a railroad track. Got a few nice ones and some of the urgency out of my system, and a mile or two later came to the entrance.
The refuge was beautiful with great vistas and very few man-made artifacts visible (fences and roads excepted) or audible. Visitors can take a ~12 mile one way loop. Today the buffalo were at the far end of that. Before seeing the buffalo I saw a couple of deer, many antelope, a Black Bear and a bunch of birds.
About 1:30 I headed back to Missoula to pick up MT99 for Great Falls. I'm spending the night as the only occupant of a Fish & Wildlife campground and river access, 40 miles from Missoula. No cell signal.
All the rivers here are high, just like those in Idaho. There are some flood watches in effect for parts of Missoula.
I used the part numbers that I got yesterday to try to schedule service for the refrigerator. VW dealer could not make an appointment less than 3 weeks out, but referred me to Martin's RV in Great Falls. Martin's ordered the parts, expect them in by Monday, and will call me when they arrive.
There is a Wildlife Management Area near my campground. I plan to check that out in the morning, then continue East.
Birds: Black Billed Magpie, Killdeer, Eastern Kingbird, Wilson's Snipe, Song Sparrow, Osprey on nest with chicks, Red Winged Blackbird, Grey Catbird, Western Meadowlark, Lazuli Bunting, Brown Headed Cowbird, American Kestrel, American Robin, House Wren, Mountain Bluebird, Canada Goose, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Raven, Starling, Red Tail Hawk, Yellow Rumped Warbler, unidentified Sparrow, unidentified Hawk.