The Other Badlands

Our target for this trip was the North Dakota Badlands – I.E. Theodore Roosevelt National Park. After a couple days in North Dakota State Parks, we’re now camping in the National Park campground, situate in a cottonwood grove in the Little Missouri River valley. Like in Minnesota, there is a bit of fall color here also. Browns and yellows dominate, reds are scarce.

The badlands up here are visually quite distinct from the more popular South Dakota variety. The north faces of the hills are covered with juniper trees, adding a bit of color to and otherwise bleak landscape. The Little Missouri River complements the eroded hills.

The northern badlands are still hot and dry though – it’s 90F today, the 26th of September, and we are glad to have shade in the campsite. We are not glad to have a truck camper with a noisy  generator in the site across the way. Even the so-called ‘quiet’ Honda generators are horribly noisy in an otherwise peaceful campground.

Remind me to write a post where I rant about generators in campgrounds.

If you are cruising down I-94 and can’t spend a few hours in the park, you can stop at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center and catch a hint of what the park has to offer. If you have an hour and need a stretch, there’s a short trail that takes you out into the hills.

There are bison wandering around in the park. The Little Missouri River wanders through the park. Wandering bison like to wander around on the banks of the wandering Little Missouri River.

If the number of buffalo chips is an indicator, they wander around and through the campground too. Free range bison camp for free. No reservations needed.

The 24 mile scenic loop road has many pullouts with short trails and scenes like this. (Our blue campervan is visible on the ridge, just left of center. The wide angle perspective makes it look a longs ways off. It’s not).

More scenes from overlooks and trails. It’s hard to capture scenes like these in photos. Suffice to say that it’s better in person.

This guy didn’t make it. The vultures got a good meal out of it though.

I missed a decent sunset last night – to tired to hike out into the prairie. Tonight’s was just OK.

While goofing around and chasing the sunset, I saw this tree-man running across the prairie. I’m not sure from who or what he’s running, nor do I know for how long he’s been running. I read on Facebook that trees run in super-slow tree-speed, not fast like you might have seen in Hollywood blockbusters, so he could have been running for a long time. If you see stories of trees running fast, it’s fake news. Fake news is everywhere. Except on Facebook, of course.

Next on the agenda is to spend a day touring the northern unit of the Park, about 75 miles from here, then see what else North Dakota has to offer.

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