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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
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June 1, 2003     Sidney Herald
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June 1, 2003
 

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June 1, Serving the area s,mce 1908 ,stay (Editor's note: The following is part of a first-hand account series by new reporter Ellen . Robinson regarding hidden treasures in the MonDak region.) BY ELLEN ROBINSON Herald-Leader The beauty of the MonDak is dramatic when one takes the time to explore its wonders. Being a native of the South- eastern United States, I always wondered, "What is steppe? What are badlands? What is so bad about them?" I would pon- der this while looking at geo- SUBMITTED PHOTO graphical maps of North Amer- This stonebridge is one of many beautiful spots in Mon- ica. "What is out there in east- Dsk Country. ern Montana where there are no dots on the map?" closer to the desert. 1 1/2 feet is back, but it's also doable for I've had my eye on the bad- a small amount, considering seasoned drivers in a car. lands since I arrived. I've that people don't cut the grass- We drove until the path was watched the sunset glisten and es. The last group is the mixed impassable by car, and then sal- glow off the hills. So at first grasses. They grow 2-3 feet lied forth on foot. Up on the high and get 15-20 inches of prairie as we hiked the first leg chance, I took my fianc6, Allen, and our Siberian Husky, rain per year. of the trail there was nothing it A lot of the animals that live seemed for hundreds of miles Sophie, out for an adventure in in steppe are grazing animals, but the grass and delicate spring the badlands. such as rabbits, mice, antelopes flowers dancing and hissing in and horses. As a naturally cuff- the constant valley breeze ous journalist, I headed for the ' whipping up out of the canyons We watched the deer and most obvious target perched up below. The sun is unforgiving the antelope play along on the east bank of the Yellow- and the elements are relentless. the opposite hillsides as stone River, the Little Missouri We hiked up and up and up the we ventured further on Grasslands. We went "badland- hill until we reached an oilrig the range. Endless natu- ing." The academic description pumping the day away on top rally painted buttes and does no justice to the beauty of of the hill. At that point we hills pitted with lovely the badlands, were about 2,000 feet up with a With a little help from some marvelous view of the greater meadows and soft valley local enthusiasts, I found the Sidney area. The Badlands views are unparaUei to "pipeline" or "natural bridge" almost look like a smaller anywhere else. out in the Little Missouri Grass- Grand Canyon with all of the ...... lands. It's made of sandstone colorful mounds and sweeping This is what I learned from and weights approximately 140 blue skies. the Internet about steppe: tons and stretches about 50 feet At the top of the hill we could The steppe biome is dry, cold across the ravine below. It's see the rim of the canyon that grasslands that is found in all of incorrectly marked in thewe would be hiking around. the continents except Australia Rangers Guide to the Little Also the pipeline/natural bridge Missouri Grasslands. Finding was visible from across the and Antarctica. It's mostly found in the United States, this natural marvel is not for the canyon. We stumbled on gla- Mongolia, Siberia, Tibet and weak-spirited, but for those cier rocks and strange lizards. China. with true "grit, the journey is The air up there is filled with There are many plants in half of the excitement, intoxicating aroma of sage. We steppe. The main ones are dif- Once in the Little Missouri watched the deer and the ante- Grasslands, there is a maze of lope play along the opposite ferent grasses. The grasses are separated into three different treacherous oil roads. The hillsides as we ventured further groups, depending on how roads in the badlands are a on the range. Endless naturally much rain they get. The tall mixed blessing for those who painted buttes and hills pitted grasses grow up to 4 1/2 feet dare to venture out on them in With lovely meadows and soft because they live closer to the anything short of a four-wheel valley ,views are unparallel to forest. The short grasses can be drive vehicle. It's ideal for dirt anywhere else. The hot sun and less than 1 1/2 feet. They are bikes, four-wheelers and horse- wind kept the conditions pleas- ant for hiking this time of year. We hiked for two hours. After mountain-goating it down through the Rocky Mountain Junipers and brush on the side of the canyon, we descended on the pipeline/natural bridge. We paused to explore the wonder of this natural jewel and ate some snacks while sitting on it about 20 feet up from the floor of the ravine. We climbed down the ravine and meandered our way out of the canyon through the lovely painted meadows. This land is very dynamic and beautiful. It's just a matter of getting out and walking around in it to gain a true appreciation for the hidden marvels of the MonDak area. I imagined it to be much more boring and flat through the descriptions I had seen and the people I had talked to. I was pleasantly surprised. Discovering this treasure is the most exciting adventure I have been on since I moved to the Sidney area. Representing BLUE BLUE of Montana ,All Geo. B. Swenson Blinda Larsen /-I,i "An independent Licensee of the Blue Cross~Blue 202 - 3rd Ave. N.W., Sidney Hours: 9-11 & Register Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, as association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans 1998 Blue Cross and Montana, and offerS Blue Shield of Montana only in the State of Tanning without harmful sun exposure. For your appointment call - Janyce Hockenbary of 488-8732 "~" "rrs ,q CONSr rr or 7o ,as 7o WHY Brought to you by Farmers Elevator/Cenex Harvest Trident White Gum 12 piece ............... Gatorade Fireside Sandwich Creme Cookies 13 oz. pkg .............. 32 oz ..... Lipton Noodles Lipton Rice S Sauc auce 4.63 pkg ............... Fireside Vanilla Wafers 11 oz. box .............. Western Family Granulated Sugar Nut Goodie Candie Bars 1.75 oz ....... Trident Val-u-pak Gum 18 stick ........ Western Family Pitted Ripe Olives medium & large 60Z ................... / Sale good through Saturday, J I i 5 lb. bag ............... Phone 433-2305 Grocery - 433-1902 Meat Dept. - 433-5181 Produce Mon. thru Sat. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. - Sun. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1151 South Central,