Sunday, July 27, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Written from Medora, ND   (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

NEW: Beginning with this blog, I am including a link to the relevant Google+ Photo Album. There are usually MANY pictures in the album which are never used in the daily blog.

I might be doing multiple blog posts on Theodore Roosevelt National Park as there are just too many things to do and to describe in a single post.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) is divided into three main areas. These include the North Unit, South Unit, and Elkhorn Ranch and Petrified Forest. To be honest we only explored the South Unit and the Petrified Forest during this visit.  The main reason is that the South Unit Visitor's Center is entered from Medora (only about 1 mile from our CG), but the North Unit is approximately 70 miles away.

It was also time to renew our annual National Park's "America the Beautiful" pass (can't wait for age 62) so a stop at the Visitor Center enabled us to take care of this. A NP Visitor's Center is always a great place to pick up a visitor guide and become oriented to the park.  This visitor's center had a small museum detailing TR's involvement with the Medora area.

TR first came to the Medora area (actually known as Little Missouri at that time) as a young 24 year old in September of 1883 to hunt bison.  He loved this area of the Dakota Territory and invested in a cattle business by purchasing the Chimney Butte Ranch, approximately 7 miles south of Medora.  During the first winter, TR's ranch hands built a cabin later named the Maltese Cross Cabin along the Little Missouri River.

The cabin has actually been moved several times since it was built.  Its' finally home in the TRNP came in 1959.  This is the original cabin built for TR, but there are only a couple of items inside the cabin which are original.  The rest are period pieces. Most of the history surrounding this cabin and TR were learned while attending an excellent ranger-guided talk.  Several different programs of this nature are given daily.

We left the visitor's center and began the 36-mile Scenic Drive Loop of the South Unit.  There are ample pullouts along the route to view the beautiful landscape and wildlife within the park. This view is from the Skyline Vista pullout, one of the first.

The Little Missouri River winds its' way thru the park.  It's usually muddy and was sometimes known as "Little Misery" because of the hard times in the Badlands of the area. This area can be accessed from the Wind Canyon Trail.

Here were a couple of interesting looking rock formations we encountered along Wind Canyon Trail.




We honestly did not see many bisons in our multi-day exploring into the park, but this guy was certainly "up close and personal" as we came around a curve in the road.

There are many, many prairie dog towns in TRNP.  We saw the ones in Custer State Park, SD, but the areas are much larger and spread out here in TRNP.  They are never too shy for passing motorists.

TRNP also has a good number of wild horses in the park.  Best sightings are usually in the southeast portion of the South Unit.  This looked like a "family".

There are so many beautiful vistas to be found in TRNP.  Rather than become too wordy, I'll just post a few pictures.  Don't forget to take a look at today's Google+ Web Albums for many more pictures.



















That's enough for this installment of TRNP.   Stay tuned for Part II.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

12 comments:

  1. We may try to explore this one on our way back to the Midwest.

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    1. We were very pleasantly surprised by the amount of things to do and see in the area. We'll be here for a week, and that's probably not enough time.

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  2. Nice post! It's fun seeing that part of the country with you guys! Looking forward to part 2.

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  3. We've been following the blog of Sherry and David (in the direction of our dreams) who are at the same place. They've come across many bison, some of which caused traffic jams. I guess it's just the luck of the draw.

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    1. We follow their blog also and were surprised to read that they had moved over to our CG because of the fridge problems. Never did get to meet them in person, however. Yes, I believe they used up all of the bison sightings ahead of us. LOL

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  4. Can't wait to get back to that area and have more time, looks like lots to do there.

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    1. Guys it was a very nice area to explore. Small town with a very western "feel".

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  5. Great open vistas ... always a draw for us after being on the East Coast.

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  6. How funny to read your blog and Sherry's, both at the same place! Great pictures. I look forward to getting there some time. Probably not enough time next month.

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    1. She does a much more in depth report than me. I just give more of an overview in my blogs.

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  7. I loved touring that area on a motorcycle and can't wait to get there in the motorhome and really explore it. Great update. Hey, what lens are you using for the panoramic shots?

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    1. Every shot I've taken for the past year or so has been taken with a "point and shoot" camera. I'm currently using the Panaonic Lumix ZS20. It has an optical zoom of 20x, but the panoramas are just a special scene setting. I really have no control over the ability to zoom on those.

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