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blizzard warnings - 13:52 , 03 October 2013

heelerless - 21:32 , 18 August 2013

Red Coat Inn in Fort McLeod - 11:38 , 23 June 2013

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12 February 2003 - 23:20

divided day

The morning was spent at a meeting at the federal office.

Supposed to be just myself and one of their biologists, sorting the wildlife information she needs for a major report they are producing, but since we met in the break room, we had all sorts of other folks stopping in and out to visit.

As well as a fellow from the office two hours west of here who came for the sage grouse meeting.

The meeting that had been changed to 13:00, but someone neglected to inform him. So, lacking anything more productive to do, he stuck around to help us with our discussions.

Then a rush home for fixing lunch, doing dishes and getting the heelers their gravy skillet, and hustling back again for the rescheduled sage grouse meeting.

Basically everyone involved with lek surveys in this part of the state was there, deciding who was going to check which leks this spring. To ensure all leks were looked at by somebody.

And yes, I lied some. Left a few strutting grounds off my list of leks that I would be checking, just so someone else would get out there to take a look at them as well. Took a little pressure off me (since I'm already checking more than most), and ensures somebody else will get out there to see that we have grouse to worry about in the gas fields. But I'll probably check them anyway, just to be sure.

Meanwhile, the heeler sisters got to spend yet another three hours sitting in the boring truck in the boring parking lot. After three hours in the same truck in the same lot in the morning.

They were quite stir crazy by the time we were done. Add in the fact that they haven't been out in the country for a couple weeks, and add in the fact that the little maskless heeler is in heat and driving her sister crazy with her playful "coy" behavior, and they were desperate to burn some energy.

Now, some of the desert elk had been just two to three miles north of town a week or so ago, so I decided to go see if the recent snows had kept them around.

All we found near where the elk had been was two young guys in a pickup truck, smoking.

They claimed to be sitting out here in nowhere because their girl friends had been driving them crazy. Entirely possible, I don't know. They were certainly chatty enough. But they asked enough questions about the desert elk, and the big buck deer we have in this country, to make me suspicious.

So yeah, I got their plate number.

Since there were no elk left in that neck of the hills, we headed north to the Divide.

Still no elk to see, but the sisters got their relief:

and I got to enjoy the view. Clear skies, with little haze. Had the Winds 75 miles to the northwest, the Snowies 35 miles to the southeast, Sierras 35 miles south, and the Ferrises 25 miles northeast. With all the hills in between.

And 45 miles due north, the Granite Mountains. Some of the oldest hills on the North American continent. The skin of the planet about three billion years ago, resurfaced for another viewing.

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