Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

Plant life on the American Prairie Reserve

Marty’s photo of the day #3765-3767: Plant life close-ups on the American Prairie Reserve (Montana).

The most nerve-racking aspect of visiting the American Prairie Reserve was all the prickly pear cactus. When hiking, Deb and I had to be careful that our dog, Nellie, didn’t step on any of it. Months before our trip, we bought her some protective booties in anticipation of the cactus, but Nellie panicked every time we tried to put the booties on her (she was a stray before we adopted her and likely had a previous bad experience involving her feet). Fortunately, Nellie naturally avoided the cactus—sometimes pirouetting through thick patches of it that we didn’t see until it was too late. Deb and I held our breath!

We talked with a worker at the reserve, and apparently his Labradors weren’t always as lucky/careful. Pulling spines out from between a dog’s toes—especially one as foot-protective as Nellie—would be extremely difficult in the field.

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