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Campsite Photo Trip - 2013

Keep Your Cows Cool

Our 2013 Photo Tour Swings Into South Dakota.

On Tuesday I left Lewis and Clark SRA in Nebraska.

Lewis-and-Clark-Sign-NE

I really liked this campground. It has great sunrises,

Lewis-and-Clark-Sunrise

192 large campsites,

Lewis-and-Clark_044

A marina,

Lewis-and-Clark-Marina Lewis-and-Clark-Boat-Ramp

A sandy beach with driftwood,

Lewis-and-Clark-Beach

And lots of birds. Big birds.

Eagle-5

The camp hosts told me that there was a pair of eagles nearby so I tracked them down before I left. The trees were relatively bare so it was easy to spot their nest.

Eagle-Nest

The nest was six feet wide. Pretty impressive.

I managed to get some shots of them flying around. They are not that great because of the light and the fact that I don't carry a long telephoto lens so bear with me.

Eagle-2 Eagle-4

The best part was when one of the babies popped his head up in the nest.

Baby-Eagle

Their heads stay dark until they are a few years old.

The sun was shinning as I hit the road. Yippee!

Nebraska-Road

Lewis and Clark Lake is 26 miles long, formed by Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. The plan was to head west about 50 miles to the Fort Randall Dam and check out the two campgrounds on either side of it.

On the way there I stopped at Niobrara SRA.

Niobrara-Sign

This campground is at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.

Niobrara-View-3 Niobrara-View-2

It was also the homeland of the Ponca Indians.

Niobrara-Indian-Sign

There are cabins as well as nice campsites here.

Niobrara-Cabins Niobrara_028

The views aren't too shabby either.

Niobrara-View-1

As I left I turned on the radio, hit scan, and found myself listening to the Farming Channel.

The weather has been unpredictable lately, to say the least. A few days ago the low temp was 28 degrees and on Tuesday it was in the 90's as I left Niobrara. Cows do not like this. They need time to acclimate to the warmth. So I thought I would pass along a few tips I learned from the radio expert.

Feed them in the morning and in the the evening. They won't eat when it is hot.

Keep them cool. The expert recommending dousing them with water and then using fans to help dry them. I was imagining a whole herd of cattle with small misting fans blowing on each of them...

I crossed the border into South Dakota and set up camp at Randall Creek Recreation Area.

Randall-Sign Randall-Campsite

All that thinking about cows had made me hungry so I cooked up a new batch of taco meat.

Tacos-1

Very tasty!

Tacos-2

There are 132 campsites here as well as cabins.

Randall-Creek_025

You can barely see the dam just above my car. Here is a close-up.

Fort-Randall-Dam

I always get a little nervous about camping below a dam but haven't had a problem so far.

The clouds were doing strange things as the sun started to set.

Weird-Clouds

Thursday morning I made two stops on the way back east to Lewis and Clark Lake on the South Dakota side.

North-Point-Sign

North Point RA is just over the dam from Randall Creek. 115 campsites and multiple boat ramps make this a popular place for fishing and playing on the lake.

North-Point_049 North-Point-Beach

Next up was little Springfield RA. There are only 20 campsites but it is on the river and has a special bonus.

Springfield-Sign Springfield_010

A golf course.

Springfield-Golf-Course

You can do it all here. Go fishing in the morning and play 18 in the afternoon.

I eventually reached Lewis and Clark RA. Notice the clouds?

Lewis-and-Clark-Sign-SD

Five minutes after I arrived so did the rain.

Lewis-and-Clark-Rain

I sat in my car and read until it was dark.

Friday morning was clear so I walked the campground to take photos. This is a big place. How big? Let me put it this way. 168 sites is a big campground. But here, after you photograph 168 sites you see this sign.

Camp-Sign

Yep, 241 more. It's spread out along 2 miles of lakeshore and took exactly four hours to walk.

It's amazing how fast leaves can pop up on trees. Here is my campsite on Friday afternoon.

Lewis-and-Clark-Campsite

Turning around and looking toward the lake brings up this view.

Campground-Road

When I left to walk the campground twelve hours previously I could clearly see the lake. Amazing. Spring has finally sprung and it is almost June.

Trees-1

Saturday dawned cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms.

This is the largest campground in South Dakota in regards to the number of campsites. It also has lots of other amenities so after breakfast I went to see some of them.

Want to go camping but don't want to leave your horse at home? Bring it along!

Horse-Camp

There are 8 campsites exclusively for the Pony Express crowd.

A big beach and a three lane boat ramp have the water play covered.

Beach Boat-Ramp

Yes, there were people out boating on Saturday.

Boat-Parking

Quite a few of them. The thunder and lightning didn't start until after dark so they were ok.

At the east end of the park is the Lewis and Clark Marina and Resort.

Marina-and-Resort-Sign

The resort has a lodge, several cabins, and 24 motel-style rooms.

Resort

There is the Marina Grill for food.

Marina-Grill-1

Which conveniently overlooks the marina.

Marina-Grill-2

This is the largest marina on the upper Missouri River. There are over 400 boat slips and all types of rentals.

The sailboats seem to be clustered in the west docks.

Marina-1

The big powerboats are in the east end. The docks can accommodate boats up to 50 feet long.

I really love this last photo. The people walking on the shore and fishing in the boat bring it to life.

Marina-2

This place really has it all. It even has it's own website:

lewisandclarkpark.com

There are over 900 campsites in this area. 409 at this one, 192 across the lake at Lewis and Clark SRA in Nebraska, and 300 or so below the dam at three other campgrounds I plan to visit on Sunday. The town of Yankton is 5 miles to the east and has all the supplies you need.

I will leave you with a funny story.

While walking the campground on Friday I noticed this guy was getting ready to leave his site. He had a pickup and a big trailer. I figured I would wait for him to go before taking a photo. So he is looking around the trailer, front, back, and sides, to make sure everything is put away and secured properly. He talks about the upcoming weather, how nice this campground is, just basic chit chat.

He finishes up, gets in his truck, and wishes me a nice day. He puts it in gear and steps on the gas. The trailer shudders and lurches but doesn't go anywhere.

He gets out of the truck muttering obscenities, walks back to the trailer, and removes the wheel chocks he had left in place. He throws them in the back of his truck, jumps in and speeds off. All the while making sure not to look at me. I held in my laughter until he was gone.

Regards, Park Ranger

Comments

A lot of potential kayaking places! I started planning our next trip back out west from all this great information you provide. Thank you!

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