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August 14, 2012 / lennonsoehl

North Dakota

Well, we hit our first National Park at 5 am after a LONG haul drive form Omaha to Mt. Rushmore, through Sturgis (already packed at midnight on Sunday) and into the park.

We pitched our tent slept til about 10am before we set out to see the sights of what I affectionately called teddy’s park.

The buffalo definitely roam free and across the road, the prairie dogs are the busiest animals I have seen, poking their heads out of their holes, sitting up on their hind legs and scurrying to neighbor’s holes to hang out, chat a bit and run off together. We could have watched them for hours they are so much fun!

There were also wild horses and we saw a few bands of them– about 10-15 animals in each. We got a few pics of foals at one spot.

It was extremely hot and we packed lots of water but still weren’t really prepared for North Dakota hot. We drove the roads and got out for 2-3 small hikes (aka less than 2 miles total). We saw some of the little missouri river, the area of a lignite burnfield– where the coal beneath the ground burned for decades. Similar to what has happened in Pennsylvania- there is a town there that had to be evacuated because it is basically the lignite coal just burning continuously- there is not way to stop it.

Anyway, we enjoyed the drive and park, took tons of buffalo pictures and worried a little bit about the prairie rattlesnakes but were told they will jump off the trails before we get close to them, they probably don’t think too highly of us either. Still it would have been nice to get a pic of one and I am certain they were all around us but must have camouflaged well into the scenery.

We were going to walk one trail to a lake but there were some buffalo across the trail. Sean and I as city slickers thoughtwe could pass by them, but I did read that if their behavior changed we were too close. Sean stepped ont he trail near a lying buffalo who rose to his feet and we knew there was no hiking that trail that day. The other tourists near the trailhead must have though we were just a bunch of crazy New Yorkers for even attempting it. So now we knew we were stupid and decided that the wild animals have the right to the places and we could not push our will onto them! While most of these pic are zoomed a bit, we were about 30-40 feet from the buffalo at any one time including the ones one the road who were basically about 10 feet from our car.

With Teddy under our belt we hit upa small bar and grill in the town at the base of the park, Medora for buffalo burgers. trust me, there are enough of them to have one of these delicious and lean burgers!

We knew we had to get to Montana and it would be another long haul, we tried to rest but were too excited and hit the road at about 8pm in order to get to the Glacier early to secure a campsite.


One Comment

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  1. Maryann / Aug 14 2012 9:04 pm

    Great picture of the buffalo they are so big.reading this story was so good about the animals and the prairie dogs they are cute and do funny things Chris had them in his yard when he first moved there. Everything sounds great glad you did found any snakes I know you said they were around but didn’t come out. that’s good enjoy reading about you trip.

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