Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Theodore Roosevelt's Legacy

Theodore Roosevelt went to ND to hunt Buffalo, and in the end he used his pen to protect land that is now ensuring those same animals  continue to live on our Lands; kind of ironic? 

I was happy to leave the oil fields of Williston behind me and head into the badlands of ND to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, The park has 2 units North and South separated by about 70 miles of badlands.  The North Unit's Visitors Center was being demolished as I drove up!! They are building a new one I hope...meanwhile they are housed in these 2 trailers..

The September day was cold! The wind continued to be a factor too.  I  got my passport stamp, a map, then headed for the campground to secure a camp spot in the Juniper Campground.  Good thing too because later in the evening it got pretty full!  Awesome price of $8. No hook ups. 

the colorful rocks and the fall colors were was one magnificent view right after another!

There is a 14 mile one way scenic drive and when you turn around its a totally different view on your way back down!   I took a few of the shorter hikes as it continued to threaten rain and did I say it was cold? BRRR the wind chill was the problem.  I hiked a bit here till it got too muddy and I turned back.  Right by the trailhead parking are these amazing rocks called cannonballs!!

I was awestruck by the almost perfect round shape.  And I found this little fellow sitting as still as he could along the edge of the hillside. 

I imagine he would dart into that hole if he felt threatened.  He never moved anything but that nose.  

Bunny at TR NP

Then I decided to hike this trail, can you see where the trail disappears over that little rise? There is a trail head sign in book held in a box atop that post...barely visible at the end of the trail in this shot...Well I stopped but didn't sign the book...closed the box and  turned to go over the rise ...

and suddenly a HUGE tawny HUMP was coming right at me, I made a fast and speedy U-turn and got off the trail as this fellow came right at me!

He was in no way threatening me, he was just browsing...and then he came up the trail head sign in book...

and gave himself a good scratch!!

Buffalo at Hikers Registry

I had of course retreated to the parking lot and it was there I met this amazing couple! NO names were exchanged as I don't normally introduce myself...I just start jaw flapping..They drove up as I was leaving in a dodge ram van same as mine only a different color and they too used theirs for overnight camping! We immediately had something in common and exchanged stories of the thrill of exploring these awesome parks we are so Grateful that exist due to the foresight of people like Roosevelt... and we planned to continue our conversation in the campground later and we did..

I took so many Bison photos...they are just too cute to pass up.  Here is a good mom taking care of her large, but always, her baby..

The herd is quite large I never got a head count...the landscape is so full of different textures it just draws you in and you want to go explore what's beyond that grassy hill, maybe you can catch a view of the elk that you hear bugling but can't seem to figure out exactly where the sound is coming from...

But it has a wild and wonderful sound and sends a chill down your spine!1
This is the Little Missouri River in the background passes through both the north and south units of TR NP. 

I saw so many amazing colors of rock and in every configuration you can imagine too.

and if not for the CCC we would not have these amazing structures to enjoy...

a perfect bison pie...

one could spend a lifetime right here and never grow tired of this untamed landscape...

it took me all day to do the 28 miles (14 up and 14 back) as I stopped at every single trail head and overlook...till the sun tipped the ridges and it was time for me to head back to the campground where it was drizzling rain. 

so I have no photos of my campsite! It was a good one directly across from the bathroom, but with plenty of privacy, and a great open space to walk Casey where we had deer flush through a couple of times.  With the drizzle I just left the camera in the van, and put on my rain poncho.  

the couple I met began their journey in Pennsylvania and they too had gone to Shenandoah NP! They had 3 months to enjoy traveling and they were headed on to Glacier NP in Montana they had already done the South unit of TR, the way I was headed.  They, like me, focus on the natural aspect of traveling...being out in the open spaces, hiking, and photographing the landscape, and seeing first hand the plants and animals that live in these great spaces.  

They both quit their jobs, she just returned from a trip with Doctors Without Borders to Africa and they decided they don't really know what they want to do they know what they don't want to do is work their whole life who knows where they will end up. 

The funny thing was I noticed right away they were not American's so they explained.  He immigrated from New Zealand 5 yrs ago and she immigrated from New Zealand 4 yrs ago and friends via work introduced them and so they met here in the USA and they grew up only 30 miles away from each other in New Zealand!!  On the cuteness scale they score a 10...young people the age of my son and I was so impressed by them.  Their "check engine" light had come on, but they were not worried they planned to stop somewhere along the way and have it checked.  Such is the life of us who don't have the brass ring. 

I pulled out about 10 mins before they did and I still wonder how their trip is going since they are still out there, probably winding down in CA as they intended to do the Pacific Coast Highway as they wrapped their trip up.  Neither had been to Oregon, and they were headed there after MT, and I have a feeling Oregon will be the place they decide to settle as they were hoping to find a home-base somewhere along the way of their trip. 

They wanted to kidnap 

so many awesome young people are out there to carry  forward, we must remember to try and focus on the positives in our future as hopefully they will take the torch and carry it and not go backward as the baby boomers seem to be trying to do! I say let Gen. X take control they are way smarter than we are. next stop is the South Unit of the TR NP only an hours drive South. 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. I miss the boggle of the Elk. Those bison are huge and so many it is awesome. The land changes and rocks and mountains are great. Yes it is a place that needs to be seen and to be able to stay for a long time to drink it all in.

    1. The bison are huge!! I was not lucky enough to spot any elk but I sure heard them...I was directed to one overlook where some people say they saw them but when I arrived there I saw nothing.

  2. It certainly is beautiful countryside, so expansive. It must be thrilling to see a herd of Bison like that and good to hear that they are being preserved as they have played a huge roll in the lives of Native Americans. Its always good to meet someone with the same outfit as yours, there is usually an immediate bonding.

    1. Yes we just able ran to each other in since both our vans are over 15 ys old! I wish I had at least asked if they kept a Facebook, to keep up with their journeys.

  3. I am in awe! What a great post... love the scenery and the bison of course...just amazing pictures... but meeting one on the hiking trail had me shaking a little. And then you casually mention your 20plus mile hike like it was a stroll in the park! And cool story about the people you met! Agree with your philosophy too, but you already knew that!

    1. I was charmed by ND's wildlife and the countryside, and the people, only the dirty of Oil is spoiling that charm I can't see that continuing as some believe Fracking is God'a answer to our fossil fuel problem in the way of natural word KaBoom!

  4. Hey lady! SO sorry I've been away so long. The weather remains sunny and warm so we continue to crank away outside. :) This looks like such a fantastic trip and I love the videos. I also love your commentary on the young folks searching for a different way about life. There is so much to see and to experience. It warms my heart to hear of more and more people saying the normal way is not my way. :)

    1. Busy Bees! I loved your bat houses. I so much enjoy meeting young people who have no cell phone in their hands and a head full of wonderful ideas and they are not afraid to approach people my age and compare notes... Like you and Steve!

  5. Oh wow, you have me convinced that I need to make a real trip out to North Dakota! What amazing landscapes and rock formations, not to mention the wildlife. Glad you're meeting some good people out and about, but keep a close eye on that cute Casey. Don't let no one nab him!

    1. I sure am glad I decided to really spend some time in ND, I was so impressed, except for the oily stuff but some day that will all be gone!! Casey is always a rock star!!

  6. I love that park. So wild and untamed. Cool that you were there for the rut. We went to Rocky Mountain NP one year just to hear them.

    1. Really loved it, Both Units are amazing.


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