When we learned that sister Zona and mother Mom (Evelyn) were going to be in Minneapolis for the weekend attending the Minnesota State Fair, we decided to delay our arrival in Bismarck, ND, and spend a long weekend in the extreme western end of the state at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There is a nice campground within the Park, but we opted for the commercial facility with more accommodations: sewer, water and electricity, located just outside the Park and a stone-throw away from the little tourist-saturated village of Medora.
As is our common practice, our first stop was at the Visitor Center where we took in the orientation movie and then joined a ranger for an informative and entertaining tour of Teddy’s Maltese Ranch cabin. Next day, we took our little Geo Tracker out for a tour of the Park. Gorgeous scenery, as befits a place called “badlands”, but not so bleak and not so dramatic as the parks in Utah. We saw pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, a western meadowlark and bison. We returned to Medora to take advantage of the famous pitchfork fondue steak supper, and then rushed back to the Park to join a ranger at Wind Canyon for a scheduled full moon walk. Fortunately, we were confused about the appointed time and arrived an hour too early. “Fortunately”, because the early hour meant there was still light in the early evening and on the drive we saw a coyote, wild turkeys and a flock of grouse.
On Sunday we drove up to the Petrified Forest Wilderness Area, part of the National Park but accessed by a separate gravel road that runs northward to the west of the main park. Pleasant walk from the parking area to the petrified area.
Monday morning we broke camp and drove the 133 miles east to Bismarck, where we were greeted by my ever-young 96 year-old mother and my just-turned 69 year-old baby sister. But more about that visit in the next edition of our blog.