My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ayres Natural Bridge Park

Planning for the two week vacation I'll spend alone mostly involved looking up  free camping sites along some of my proposed routes. (The actual routes I'll take will depend on what I find and how long it takes me to get from one place to another. I have two weeks to drive about 1000 miles, if I was to drive in a straight line.)  So I look up some interesting things to do, and expect to find others along the way.

One interesting place that offers free camping is Ayres Natural Bridge Park. It has one of the few natural bridges that is over a stream.

I arrived there Monday evening in time to enjoy the late afternoon sun, the many birds, and to set up camp along LaPrele Creek.  There are only eight campsites but there were no other campers besides myself so I picked the very best site, right next to the creek and just across from the bridge. The creek is very low but still makes soft water music that can only be heard when the winds are low.

My tent with a view of the bridge

I consider this bench part of my campsite

One of the many pigeons using the bluffs
One of many young flickers

View of the bridge from the day-use side

The small park is the area that is surrounded by sandstone bluffs which are vivid shades of mostly orange with some white, grey, and black mixed in. They have old nests of raptors and cliff swallows - already departed, and seem to be still hosting nesting pigeons that are serenading me with their coos. This area is has the densest population of birds I've seen. I haven't taken my binoculars out yet but have seen several thrashers, lots of spotted towhees, a spotted sandpiper, robins,  an epidtomax flycatcher family (s). This morning I heard a canyon wren call and saw a baby wren yesterday.  It was another wren species, maybe a winter wren.

Bluff along the edge of the campground

There are three dimensional carvings on some of the sandstone bluffs
This morning I got up and got everything done around the camp so I could continue taking pictures. Then I enjoyed the early morning before coming into the library at Douglass, Wyoming where I ended up spending most of the day catching up on picture editing, adding albums to Webshots, and writing a few more blogs. I'm definitely ready to go back to camp and hang my hammock and jump in it, as soon as the temperature drops down - it's 95 degrees at 6:15 P.M. I plan to stay here another day so may have to retreat to the library again tomorrow afternoon. I also hope to hike along the Platte River, on a trail here in town,  if I can get started before the heat builds up.

For more information on this park, near Douglas, Wyoming, click here.