Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Badlands National Park // prairie dogs

One of the highlights of Badlands National Park (basically everything was a highlight, though) was the abundance of quirky little prairie dogs. They are soooooo cuuuuuuute. Their little faces, their cute paws, and the sounds that they make just kill me!

Prairie dogs are not really dogs, as their name would suggest, they are rodents in the same category as squirrels and chipmunks. There are several different types of prairie dogs, but these in particular are black tailed prairie dogs. Prairie dogs, in general, are highly social animals that live in groups, like families. There is "kissing" activity and grooming that takes place among prairie dogs from the same family. They live in burrows that can extend as far as a meter underground, and they hide in those deepest spaces to avoid predators. They communicate with each other through sophisticated calls in which scientists believe they can describe exactly which predator is threatening them.

It was so wonderful being able to observe prairie dog behavior in the wild. Watching them made me happy, and so interested to learn more about them. I think that's part of why it's so important for people to travel and see new things. Sometimes it's hard to feel a connection to things that we haven't actually observed in person. This is part of the reason why I'm such a big advocate for travel. When people travel, they learn. When people learn, they fall in love. When people love, they protect. 
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

road trip 2016 // Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is the first national park I've ever been to (we have hardly any in the Midwest?!)! We went on my 27th birthday, and, honestly, I can't think of a way I'd rather have spent that day. Before we even entered the park, I made Jasper swing the car around because I saw some sort of animal near the road. It was an elk! I had never seen an elk before. He was so beautiful!

We entered the park and climbed a bit of Green Mountain. We stopped at Big Meadow in hopes of seeing some moose, but sadly the moose were not out and about. After the climb back down, we hopped in the car and drove up, up, and up! We drove Trail Ridge Road - one of the highest highways on the continent! We stopped along the way for mini hikes and lots of photos.

I absolutely fell in love with Colorado when I was there, and I think about how much I'd love to go back. I want to visit the National Park again! It seems like there was so much to explore that we missed before heading on. I want to see it all! I want to climb all the mountains!
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