We were able to camp on the banks of the Little Missouri River while visiting Theodore Roosevelt NP. We camped and hiked in both the north and south unit. The south unit is in Medora which is about 70 miles due south of the north unit. Both units abound with wildlife. We saw prairie dogs, bison, feral horses, deer, pronghorn antelope and turkey as we hiked. The south unit is in the heart of the badlands of North Dakota and our hikes presented tremendous panoramic vistas. We also hiked through a petrified forest area in the south unit that has a significant concentration of petrified wood that is estimated to be 225 million years old. The petrified wood now rests on the surface as layers of stone, clay and coal have been washed away over many millions of years.
Good coffee in short supply here (along with connectivity) but nonetheless a worthwhile segment of our first road trip.
Next stop is Custer Gallatin NF before traveling to South Dakota. 0033,0034,0035,0036
From Bismarck we followed the Missouri River north and west along ND 1804 – which roughly follows the route that the Lewis & Clark Discovery Corps Expedition charted in 1804. As you enter Parshall and continue on to Williston the landscape changes radically as oil rigs and oil wells abound accented by numerous gas flares. This latest boom began in the early 2000s with the discovery of an estimated four million barrels within the Bakken formation. Hydraulic Fracturing spurred production on with almost 500,000 barrels a day coming out of these fields at the peak of the boom.
We camped at Lake Sakakawea (178 mile long man made lake) near Epping. It is a bit surreal to camp along the lake and see the lake encircled by gas flares once the sun sets. Mixed feelings about the trade offs between the signifcant economic benefit that North Dakota has experienced and the blighted landscape created by this massive oil field. 0032
We camped a couple of nights in the Hankinson Hills Recreation Area which is part of the Sheyenne NG. Certainly not dramatic scenery but we enjoyed significant solitude with the exception of the occasional horseback rider or atv enthusiast. The night sky on the other hand was quite spectacular with the Milky Way galaxy clearly visible as it crossed the sky each night.
Heading next to the Sheyenne River Valley for some kayaking and hiking along the Sheyenne River. 0025,0026
We spent a couple of hours at the above captioned art museum. The museum is small but has an interesting collection. Maria and I particularly enjoyed the current exhibition on the emergence of the Lakota Nation. The Lakota are now more commonly known as Sioux. The irony here is devasting. All of the works in this exhibition are painted by members of the Sioux tribe and very beautiful. The Lakota have been one of the most victimized indian nations in America’s history. The land agreements made with the federal government were violated multiple times with the government confiscating additional large tracts of their land.
Below is a sample of some of the works we viewed. Many of the works depict specific moments in the history of the Lakota. 0024
We enjoyed a relaxing stay in Fargo after leaving the deep forests of central Minnesota. An old fashioned downtown with plenty of vitality especially on “Broadway” the main street through downtown. Plenty of excellent coffee and tea to keep us fueled while poking around the shops and museums. We were also able to align our stay with several classes at Downtown Yoga and get in some much needed studio practice.
P.S. While very tempting we successfully resisted the the urge to have our picture taken beside the infamous “woodchipper” used in the movie “Fargo”.