09 June 2015


May 19, 2015

We were up bright and early. Kinsey believes a hearty breakfast is the right way to start the day. And they call this camping?

Ouevos Rancheros

Whilst Kinsey stuffed her face I kept watch.

Australian Shepherd Guard Dog

From consulting the map Kinsey's plan had been to drive into the Charles Russell Wildlife refuge. The map indicated dirt roads and we do dirt roads all the time. Well, Shadow ain't doing the dirt roads in this refuge. We quickly found out that the roads are really more suitable for four wheel vehicles and at the very least high centered ones. Shadow would have been high centered in a Minnesota minute.

Charles Russel Wildlife Refuge
 Not to be deterred we set out to walk the road, aka Willow Creek Road, heading down the west side of Fort Peck Lake. Fort Peck Lake was formed by the damming of the Missouri River and it's a really big lake. We knew we wouldn't get that far, this refuge is enormous. But, we got much less far than we'd hoped. First, after the rains the roads were still muddy. The mud around here is something else. I'm guessing it's some type of clay and believe me you could sculpt with the stuff. It stuck in the hair between my toes so bad I had to stop every five seconds to try and chew the it out. Secondly, only about a mile in we ran into a cattle guard that neither of us wanted to try and cross.

The views of the lake were beautiful but we were very disappointed. Trying to make lemonade out of this lemon we decided that these primitive roads act as a buffer keeping a lot of tourists out of it and that is surely a good thing. We drove over the damn and down the other side but it was the same thing. If you want to do an in depth exploration of the Charles Russel Wildlife Refuge you'd best bring a four wheel drive vehicle.

Fort Peck Lake
We stopped in at the marina and Kinsey asked about hiring a guide to take us into the refuge. At the Interpretive Center she had seen some awesome photos of just how beautiful it is in there. We got some names and numbers and maybe we'll come back this way when we can actually get back into the refuge. We'll chalk this up to a reconnaissance stop and certainly be better prepared next time.

On the way back we stopped at the Spillway overlook. The spillway is for overflow when there's flooding. I wonder how often that happens. Right now they are working on expanding it. We ended up having a picnic at the Downstream Campground and walking the nature trail. Sadly, my new BFF Harper, that I met yesterday, wasn't anywhere to be seen.

Downstream Campground Fort Peck

If you haven't already, you can read the story of why we ventured to the Black Hills here.

Ciao for now.
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

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