How Adventure Keeps Us Wild

By mid-October, the small blooms of big sagebrush have disappeared, and the cottonwood leaves reach their most vivid shade of yellow. (Photo by Dove Henry)

Our Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Landmark crew members come from many backgrounds, often with many creative talents. Dove Henry of the September/October 2015 crew channeled her experience on the prairie through the written word. Read Dove’s musings below about what the land stirred in her, and what it can awaken in all of us.

By mid-October, the small blooms of big sagebrush have disappeared, and the cottonwood leaves reach their most vivid shade of yellow. (Photo by Dove Henry)

During the drive to the reserve from Bozeman, Montana, I divide my attention between the unfamiliar terrain outside my window and the atlas on my lap. Something about the western topography is harsh to my northeastern perception. My eyes are used to the Catskills, where old mountains have been worn into rolling hills and mixed deciduous forest covers most of the land, endowing the scenery with an indistinct softness. The Montana landscape is dominated by hard lines and sharp angles. The peaks are jagged, rising abruptly from plains so vast and invariable they are almost startling.

My only experience of the prairie before coming to American Prairie Reserve was from behind a window, on the way to someplace else. I watched it go by as a golden blur when driving across the country. I have seen it on numerous occasions through the tiny window of a plane, from which it appears similarly void of detail.

The sight of prickly pear cactus is familiar on the prairie, as are patches of smooth pebbles evocative of the vast, shallow sea once located in this area.
The sight of prickly pear cactus is familiar on the prairie, as are patches of smooth pebbles evocative of the vast, shallow sea once located in this area. (Photo by Dove Henry)

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