Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America. Today less than 4% remains, some of it under the protection of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Kansas Flint Hills. A ranch since the 1880s, the land in the preserve wasn’t used for agriculture, conserving the tallgrass prairie. We spent a few hours in the preserve on our return from Texas last March. After a stop at the visitor center and a brief tour of the historic ranch buildings, we set off for a hike (3.5 miles – Ranch Legacy/Scenic Overlook Trail loop). Although the prairie was still partially snow-covered, the sheer expanse of the land was striking, as well as the silence. While hiking we encountered our second bison herd of the trip. The ranger had warned us that they were “rather moody lately” but they didn’t seem to mind my antics as we walked through their pasture. The bison are a relatively new addition to the preserve, reintroduced to the area in 2009 with 13 bison from Wind Cave National Park, with the hopes of growing the herd to near 100 in the future.
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- 04.15.22 : “Are you looking at my butt?” We interrupted this moose mid-snack at Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.04.14.22 : Conditions weren’t ideal for night photography, but managed to get a few decent shots from the comfort of our our cabin deck.04.14.22 : Bits of sunshine highlighted Hallett Peak as we walked across frozen Bear Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park.04.14.22 : Looking across Moraine Park toward the continental divide from Bear Lake Road.04.14.22 : After three miles and 1,000 feet up through fresh snow, we reached Loch Vale. At first visibility was terrible, but as we spent some time around the lake the snow cleared just enough to reveal the surrounding mountains.04.14.22 : Lonesome hiker. Probably my favorite photo from the hike to Loch Vale. Approaching the lake, the winter trail follows the path of a frozen stream that lies somewhere below the snow.