Martha and I haven’t ventured outside much in the last 50 days. Despite some beautiful weather in the last couple of weeks, my severe hay fever has kept us from even walking around the neighborhood. Aside from that, we’ve only driven to places where we could retrieve food, including supermarkets as well as takeout from our favorite pizza place (East Coast Pizza), our favorite Italian restaurant (Paul Manno’s Cafe), and an establishment which is our new go-to venue for Chinese food (Dynasty).
All this sheltering-at-home has created some serious cabin fever, so today I suggested we just go for a drive. But where? Martha thought of a place we hadn’t been to in more than 15 years — Lone Elk Park, part of the St. Louis County park system, which remains open, although you can only drive through. That’s fine for us, as we weren’t about to park the car, take off on the trails, and have a picnic — activities the pollen count tells me I shouldn’t do if I want to continue breathing.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones desperate to get out of the house. Before we even got to the entrance, there was a line of cars on the approach road. Several of them turned around rather than wait, but we opted to stay for two reasons: 1) we know from our Yellowstone experience a couple of years ago that, when it comes to wildlife, tourists in cars drive extra slowly and make frequent stops to take photos; and 2) we had absolutely nothing else to do.
The stream of cars moved fairly steadily, and we were inside the park in less than ten minutes. Spring is a wonderful time to be there, with lush greenery all around. I like the fact that the county leaves most of the park in its natural state. That is, no one clears away fallen logs and branches — unless they block the road.
We weren’t sure what else we’d see, since on our last visit, we hadn’t even spotted the Lone Elk. But today, we encountered a half-dozen of them grazing not far from our path. By the way, if you’re wondering why the park is called Lone Elk when there are more than one, the answer is easy: social distancing!
Along the way, we came upon a flock of geese on the banks of a stream (are they still a flock when not in flight?), with several fuzzy little goslings alongside. We paused each time to capture photos of the beautiful animals.
We also passed through the bison area, but didn’t see any of them. Still, we laughed at the warning sign reminding us, “Bison have damaged cars.” Did that mean the beasts had head-butted other vehicles, or that we should be on the lookout for buffaloes driving beaters around the park? “Hey, there’s one in a ’79 Pinto!!”
Maybe that’s what was causing the traffic backup.