During the following weeks I processed more than 700 photos out of over 2000 which accumulated during the trips, and am now selecting some which reflect favorite memes: critters (especially birds), skies and landscapes, reflections, fences, and scenes which speak for themselves.
During our first week in Illinois we visited the prairies of Nelson Lake/Dick Young preserve and saw a good variety of recently arrived breeding birds, including...
MaryLou and I celebrated our 56th Wedding Anniversary at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, hosting all of our descendants-- three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, spouses and MaryLou's brother:
Because of a mix-up with the reservations we were assigned a cozy cabin, but it was a long walk away from the rest of our party who were clustered together. This actually suited us just fine, as our sleeping and waking patterns did not match those of the young crowd.
Our nearest neighbors were Green-tailed Towhees...
...Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and...
Along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountains National Park we saw a Hoary Marmot:
Following our 5 nights in the Colorado Rockies, we joined our daughter's family for a long drive in a rented SUV. We winded our way along the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota, passing through numerous tunnels:
The Needles, a magnificent rock formation:
MaryLou and I posed at The Needle's Eye:
As we emerged from the last tunnel, a distant view of Mount Rushmore opened up in front of us:
At Mount Rushmore National Monument, we were awed by the spectacular carvings of four former Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln:
We stayed in Blue Bell, South Dakota, in Custer State Park, where we occupied adjacent cabins on the Wildlife Loop road:
View from Wildlife Loop just after sunset:
Highlights of the drive along Wildlife Loop included American Bison..
...a Whitetail Deer fawn...
...and a Pronghorn Antelope:
From there we traveled into southwestern South Dakota and spent two nights at Circle View Family Ranch in Badlands National Park. Our accommodations were primitive, but the scenery, wildlife and great breakfasts were totally enjoyable. Our lodging was a refurbished ranch-hand shack, the Tree House Cabin:
Our daughter's family stayed next door in the more luxurious Cowboy Cabin, which even had utensils and a kitchen sink:
From the porch of our cabin we saw (among many species) Lark Sparrows...
...and Western Meadowlarks:
Driving through the Park, the views were fantastic.
A Bighorn ram grazed next to the road:
I must stop writing somewhere as it is impossible for me to do justice to the beauty we saw this month. In Florida it began, appropriately, with a "Mirrored" (anti-crepuscular or false) sunrise on the western horizon opposite the sun, on June 1...
... and ended with us back in northeastern Illinois, with a robin on a fence...
...and a walk in the short-grass prairie path at Nelson Lake (oil rendering, click to enlarge):
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display