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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Campaigning with Crook Redux

Campaigning with Crook by Captain Charles King (excerpts)

Harper and Brothers, 1890

“At two P.M. we bivouac again, and begin to growl at this will-o'-wisp business. The night, for August [1876], is bitter cold. Ice forms on the shallow pools….and the thermometer was zero at daybreak.

The grandest country in the world for Indian and buffalo now…two years hence it will be the grandest place for cattle.

We move into a dense grove of timber—lofty and corpulent old cottonwoods…a great quantity of Indian pictures and hieroglyphics on the trees. We were camping on a favorite ‘stomping ground’ of theirs, evidently, for the trees were barked in every direction from the ground, and covered with specimens of aboriginal art.

We found ourselves on the crest of a magnificent range, from which we looked down into the beautiful valley of the Beaver to the east, and southward over mile after mile of sharp, conical buttes that were utterly unlike anything we had seen before. We had abundant water and grass, and here we rested two days, while our scouts felt their way towards the Little Missouri.

Our march leads us southeastward up the valley of Davis’s Creek—a valley that grows grandly beautiful as we near its head.

The tepees are nestled about in three shallow ravines or ‘cooleys,’ uniting in the centre of the metropolis…On a point at the confluence of two smaller branches stands a large lodge of painted skins, the residence no doubt of some chief or influential citizen, for it is chock full of robes and furs and plunder of every description.

Mid-July 2023 
350 miles roundtrip

Western Meadowlark
Yellow-breasted Chat
Field Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Indigo Bunting
Gray Catbird
Mourning Dove
Least Flycatcher
Turkey Vulture
Rough-winged Swallow
Lazuli Bunting
American Robin
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Kingbird
Northern Harrier
Horned Lark
Swainsons Hawk

Pale Evening Primrose
Northern Beadstraw
Prairie Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Scoria Lily
Harebells (not Lanceleaf bluebells as on a video)
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Prickly Juniper
Creeping Juniper
Pin Cheery
Buffalo Berry
Blanket flower
Plains cottonwood
Green Ash
Little bluestem
Western wheatgrass
Thread-leaf sedge
Skunkbush sumac
Wild roses (two kinds)
Butte candles
Ponderosa pine

Saw one vehicle from 4 p.m. Friday (UPS driving leaving a ranch on the East River Road) until 11 a.m. Saturday when I met two women biking on the Maah Daah Hey trail. Otherwise, no one else until I departed Sunday morning. 

No snakes.

Coyotes singing at dusk.  

Mistakes are all my own.