Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pawnee National Grasslands

Northeast of Denver, almost to the Wyoming border, is a large area of shortgrass prairie, the kind that once covered much of the midwest.  We had a few days before we were due to head up to Cheyenne, so we decided to camp out in this vast, flat area and take a break from the mountains for a while.

Not really a pristine area, the National Grasslands is a patchwork of ranches, open prairie and some oil and gas develoment.  It was really quite beautiful and in this very wet year, it was green and full of wildflowers.  We camped in a very quiet and lovely spot and took a drive over to the Pawnee Buttes for a hike.  The buttes are one of the few remnants of the prairie floor as it existed millions of years ago.  Almost all of that soft sandstone has eroded away, but a hard cap of rock protected the buttes from erosion, leaving the several-hundred-foot-high monoliths as they are today.   It was a very beautiful place and one that few people even know about, much less visit.

Our camping spot in the grasslands
A storm approaches
This creek is usually dry, but this year it is flooded
The Pawnee Butte trail

View of the buttes from a distance

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