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66th birthday today

March 28, 2015

Photo on 3-28-15 at 5.00 PM P. wished me happy birthday at 0320 today. We up and drove to the Pictograph State Park, hiked on up that canyon to the right. No poison ivy yet. Surprised to be blocked by the sprawling trunk and branches of a massive mature ponderosa that had broken about 10 feet above the base. (Lightning? Strong wind?)
Morning weather clear, we drove Highway 212 toward Busby, then South past the Kirby Saloon to Rosebud Creek Battlefield State Park. The battle started June 17, 1876, when soldiers stopped for coffee by the creek and the Cheyenne and Sioux attacked. The Cheyenne still call it the battle when the sister saved her brother. The young warrior’s horse had been shot out from under him. His sister rode her horse under heavy fire and picked him up.
That day one Cheyenne and three US soldiers died during a battle that lasted about 6 hours. General Crook’s army was beaten and unable to help General Custer at the Little Bighorn.
On the way back to Billings the strong wind raised a brown-out dust storm. Well, visibility was poor for a few minutes. A semi had emergency flashers. Paper coffee cups sailed across the road. Apparently this was the first wind strong enough to launch them. At the Yellowstone Fairgrounds cottonwood leaves plastered a chain link fence almost to the top. This was surprising because the solid pattern of leaves blocked the afternoon light.

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