After dashing through Montana, we settled in for three days at Connor Battlefield State Park, just over the state line in Ranchester, Wyoming. Our first night and day were very windy with some rain which miraculously made the smoke disappear.
Here we are in our almost empty campground alongside the Tongue River.
So the next day we took full advantage of the clear skies and repeated a favorite hike from the past. It begins with a scenic drive into the Bighorn Mountains.
Then the trail parallels that same Tongue River . . .
Up into a lovely canyon.
Uh-oh. What's this coming down the trail?
We tried to move off the trail as much as possible. I don't know if it was the young man's red shirt or that there were too many of us, but the rear cows turned around.
There was some mooing back and forth between the lead cow and the white-faced one who had turned the rear group. I could just imagine it, "Now, Mabel, I know we need to go this way." "Bessy, I'm not going past all those two-legged creatures." Finally with one last look back, Bessy gave up and turned back with the others.
We continued on our way, but had a feeling we hadn't seen the last of those cows.
Sure enough, we rounded a corner and there they were coming our way again. This time Ron and I scrambled up the hillside to give them a clear path. Ron had to pull me up as I was picturing sliding down the hill to be run over by the cows. I could just see the headline.
Here's that trouble-making Mabel bringing up the rear. She wasn't happy but did make it by us this time. Several of the cows were visibly startled when they saw us.
Ron hypothesized that since it had been cold the previous night, the cows were coming down from their summer pasture. I didn't know they did that on their own, but what do I know about cows?
Here's Ron perched up on the hillside after the mini-herd passed. We just hoped nobody else caused them to turn around again.
We continued up the trail and soon came into an area that had just burned three weeks ago according to other hikers.
We decided this tree must have been smoldering internally when it was cut.
How often do you get to see such recent fire activity? I found it interesting, especially since they got it stopped pretty quickly. Otherwise it would have been tragic.
After about 1 1/2 miles, we turned around to more gorgeous views on the return.
We passed a hiker who gave us the good news that the cows were traveling down the road as he drove in.
(See the duck?)
We did have to tiptoe around the cow excrement. Who knew they had so much poop and that it would spatter all over? (I didn't take a picture of that.)
Soon we arrived back at the trailhead very happy to have had such a clear day for our hike.
(See the eye of the needle?)