Monday, September 11, 2017

North Dakota - Teddy's park, part I

For some time I've been curious about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  It seems so far out of the way.  What could be up there to warrant creating a national park?  It was definitely on the list when planning our week in this remote area.  And worth it!

Lots of good info about Teddy at the park visitor center - he spent some time around these parts when he was younger, learning about ranching and hunting and living in the outdoors.  Apparently it made a big impression on him and had plenty to do with his conservation efforts later.

The small cabin where he stayed for a while, not much bigger than our travel trailer:

His ranch brand is carved into the end of one of the cabin logs:

Now into the park proper, with its pretty scenery and gorgeous badlands, nice!

Geology, excellent!  We found a few hoodoos, which always makes us happy:

The colors vary as you roam around:

Interesting layers and formations, lots to discover:

Hello, Mr. Bison:

John dropped me off for a run across the west side of the park.  It was a nice quiet run - except for the part through the prairie dog town.  Maybe a kilometer of chirping and warning each other and heads popping up and lots of scurrying and frenzy.  Very funny.

A nice trail up through the badlands:

Wonderful scenery:

It's a really long way across the prairie.  With lots of spear grass.  And monotony.  I wondered if we would be traversing anything like this in our race in Wyoming.

The payoff - the petrified forest area on the western edge of the park:

Rocks shaped like trees, always amazing to inspect:

Just lying around all over the place:

Big tree trunks:

Once I was afraid, I was petrified...

John drove around and hiked in from the other side to meet me (thank you!).  On our hike back to the car we surprised a snake.  Surprised us too!

Our view out the back of Howie (our trailer) at nearby Sully Creek State Park - and a lovely sunset:

The next day I took my bike out to explore the famed Maah Daah Hey trail - OK, so we didn't know about it before we went to North Dakota, but it's apparently well-known in mountain biking circles.  And there was a trailhead in our campground, bonus:

Nice trail!  I really liked it, and it's probably obvious that I'm not much of a mountain biker.  It's well-built, runs through and over super interesting terrain, was mostly rideable for me, and I'd actually venture to say that I had fun.

More lovely scenery to the south of the national park:

One of many gates:

Fun topography:

Short break in the shade:

In the meantime, John was back in Teddy's park for the day.  A couple photos courtesy of John:

The colorful Little Missouri River flowing through the area:

Beautiful place!

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