Caprock Coulee Trail - Monday, 7/18/16
Here's the stats. And we did explore all of the above.
Would you look at that sky! While Jimmy and I were drinking our morning coffee and looking out our windows, we saw a clear, bright sky. Good, we said, a nice day to do the Caprock Coulee hike that we'd planned. Because high temps near 90 were forecast, we wanted to be Out and About early, and we were. We took Smartie to the trailhead, and as we rounded a curve toward the North, the outlook changed completely to storm clouds! Our "oh, good" became, "oh, heck." That dark blue line on the horizon (above) that Jimmy is staring at is a cloud bank!
Dressed to hike, and with hiking shoes on, waters in our packs, we set off on the trail anyway, figuring there's always a chance that the storm would pass us by. As we were debating about which way to go, another couple came along and recommended we go in a clockwise direction. It's the most scenic, they said. Also, the first part is more strenuous, so we'd get that part done early. The couple was dressed in "zipper" pants and long-sleeved shirts, hats and hikers. We were in shorts and tees.
This art piece was already where you see it. Isn't it beautiful?
Wasting no time, we started up right away, and I do mean up.
That's a section of our trail above.
And sometimes we made our way down, as you see Jimmy gingerly finding footing.
Caprocks and Hoodoos. It's great hiking country. Amazing to see.
The Little Missouri River flows north through both north and south units of Theodore Roosevelt Nat'l Pk. Eventually it joins the Missouri River at Lake Sakakawea. We didn't get down to test the waters, however.
We trekked under cloud cover for an hour or so, which helped to keep us cool, but when the sun peeked through, the views were breathtaking.
As we did yesterday, we wondered if specimens like this were petrified wood. Still don't know the answer, but we know petrified wood exists in the park.
We had to be careful in this section -- like trying to avoid a glacial crevasse.
Didn't want to fall in, especially since I saw a spider in one opening!
It appears Jimmy has lost his fear of heights!
We walked through peaceful grasslands. Sometimes we had to beat back shrubs, while grasses tickled our knees. The narrow trail was very overgrown in some areas.
The storm did pass by; we didn't get rained on at all. But ye olde sun shone down with a vengeance and it was hot. We finished the hike in a little over three hours. It was awesome.
That being said, by midafternoon, I began to see spots! Spots on my arms and legs, and even my torso by bedtime. Itchy spots. Very itchy bumps, like bites. In my shorts and T-shirt, my skin obviously touched some toxic shrub or plant or maybe the tall grasses, and I was in full-fledged itchy rash mode. Did I learn anything? Was there a good reason the other couple was dressed in long pants and long-sleeved shirts? Okay, okay. It was Benedryl time again. I still say it was a superb hike. Jimmy concurs.
A warm night followed the sizzling day, and we slept with windows open. All the better to hear coyotes howl and other critters' voices. We move out in the morning, very happy to have visited this national park.