Thursday, August 20, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Wow.  After we left the Black Hills, northern South Dakota and southern North Dakota were pretty much flat farmland without much to look out.  I'm so glad Laurie noticed this park on the map.  I'd never heard of it.  Come to find out, Teddy R had fallen in love with the area long before stumbled into the Presidency and developed a couple ranch properties.  The scenery is really cool, similar to the South Dakota badlands you see east of the Black Hills.  We took the 30 mile scenic drive through the park as well as a nice 1 mile hike.  Very nice.  Here are some pictures:

Panoramic view of the Painted Canyon.  We took a nice 1 mile loop hike down into it.

Just a nice shot through some trees

On the scenic loop drive, we came across a herd of 200-300 buffalo crossing the road to get down to a stream to the left.  We turned off the engine and watched them for half an hour.

We finished out the Lower 48 states on the sticker map by coming to see North Dakota.  I thought we'd just cross the state line to fill the square, but Laurie found this really cool National Park.

Prairie dog towns were everywhere

North Dakota badlands

A cool looking dome that somehow managed to avoid getting eroded into the valley floor

Another view of the herd

It was really encouraging to see so many calves in the herd.  I bet we saw a couple dozen youngsters, usually trying to nurse while their mother was trying to walk to the next hunk of green grass.

The park has like 150 "feral" horses.  We saw a couple different groups.  The ranger stopped short of calling them "wild."  I don't know the difference.

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