We have spent our first couple of weeks just “chillin’” after such a hectic few weeks before departing Austin. Of course, we took advantage of the wonderful logging roads and trails through the forest adjacent to our camp. The dogs adapted quickly to their packs, and remembered (for the most part) to stay on the trail while wearing them.
In the Black Hills, in addition to cutting dead trees, dense stands of living trees are being thinned aggressively to make it harder for the beetles to migrate from infected to healthy trees. On our walks, we pass through some areas that have been thinned, and adjacent to others that are densely wooded. Where thinning has occurred, the native grasses are thriving and in many places vegetation on the forest floor is taller than a dog.
The first time we fished, we were not disappointed. The trout were biting, and we had a feast of panko-crusted rainbows. John landed two nice fish, and I contributed one.
Our next outing was different. John and his fly rod only brought in this one fish,
while Pink Power Bait and I caught this beauty. Fortunately, it was big enough to feed both of us.
Life in camp has been interesting. Last week we enjoyed visiting with our next-door neighbor, Richard, who has come here from Alberta, Canada, for the last two years. Richard didn’t bring his two dogs, Timber and Duke, so the Bagley Pack were only too happy to give him lots of dog affection so he wouldn’t be too lonely.Another attraction this year has been the yellow-bellied marmot clan. A number of these little guys live in rock piles in the forest and in camp. They are mostly unaware of the danger straining at the end of each leash, and let us come quite close. Occasionally one gives a loud whistle (thus the common name “whistle pig”) to warn their friends if it thinks we are a threat.
Wickipedia calls them “large squirrels,” normally weighing between 3.5 to 11 pounds. These don’t look like eleven-pounders, but they are very plump, and I’m sure couldn’t move nearly as fast as the squirrels that visit our backyard outside Austin. Colt is disinterested, but Kota and Rue have visions of catching one each time we come near their homes.
Most of the tractors have been modified so they can carry two people, and have plenty of shade for touring.