Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the northern Great Plains of North Dakota – 6/1 – 6/3
6/1 – Arrived at TRNP after a long drive to winds gusting officially to 35mph, but I’m pretty sure it was higher there. First challenge after arrival was putting up the Aliner in the high winds. Thanks to Women Aliner friend, I’d gotten a high wind strap, literally ratchet strap connected to both bumpers and strapped around the peak to keep roof pieces from blowing apart in high winds. I hadn’t used it yet so here was my chance. Success!! Tho downright heartstopping!! Glad to have that under my belt. Also have a tension rod inside to help keep the walls from being blown in. (real time comment – talked to another Aliner owner today who said they’d been in 60 mph winds with no high wind protection and no problems, but scary)
The landscape is just jaw dropping amazing. Beautiful in a stark otherworldly vast rugged way. This is called Badlands too, tho not part of the Badlands National Park which is in South Dakota. The Little Missouri River and it’s tributaries run through it and over the past thousands of years, along with winds and ice, have worn it down to it’s present fantastical form. A magnificent panorama of broken painted canyon walls and high buttes and hills in colorful hues delight the eyes. Prairie Dog towns, Bison herds, wild horses, turkeys, bighorn sheep abound. There is a scenic loop drive throughout and many trails to hike. Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails because of wildlife, including rattlesnakes, but we got out at overlooks and trailheads and if safe I left Xena for a few minutes in the car to hike a little of a trail. Did the loop in one direction the afternoon after arriving, and in the other direction the next day. It’s really the way to see the area. The wind continued both that night and the next day making walking and taking pictures a little difficult at times, even just holding the ph. was difficult!
This is going to be mostly pictures. Words can’t describe it beyond what I already did, and even pictures don’t do it justice, but at every turn in the road was another awesome sight to snap, and I did – 1200 pictures.
These were all on the road driving in.
See the wind strap? See the foreboding clouds? The wind was ushering in big thunderstorms, which passed with only the clouds, wind and thunder, very little rain. The campground itself was really nice in a valley between some of the buttes, beside the river (or tributary), mostly cottonwood trees.
After the threat of rain was over we ventured out to drive some of the scenic loop.
Lots of Prairie Dog Towns, rodents of course, cuties tho, popping up and yelping, running from hole to hole, some real tiny ones, then some coming right out to the road for a photo shoot. Majestic Bison (Buffalo). Single ones are males, groups are moms and daughters and calves.
Wondrous colorful formations, hills and canyons, more buttes. Setting sun and ominous clouds. (the last one goes with the 3rd from last, doesn’t always post in order I put them in. I put it in because it’s a better view of the one I took)
The next day another round of the loop, in the opposite direction.
More great vistas, more prairie dogs, more buffalo, Xena especially got excited over the prairie dogs, wanted out real bad. A turkey, an old ranch. Oh My!! So much! And then more!! I could post pictures forever but the internet is so slow, I’ll quit for now.
I posted a video of the wind blowing on FB. If you aren’t on FB maybe you can get someone who is to show it to you. Pretty amazing winds, like none I’ve seen before.
Three marvelous days there. Wish I’d planned more. Went to a Ranger program about the prairie dogs, had other programs I missed. Met several solo women RVers, shared contact info with a couple, plan to keep in touch while wandering. One of the special things about RVing, new friends from all over.
The drive out of the park was as long and beautiful as it was coming in. And finally I saw the horses, grazing in a prairie dog town!!
Then the long drive to the Badlands of South Dakota.
In real time: Wifi at the restaurant was very slow, probably because it was 100 degrees outside and everyone came in for ac and wifi, so the wifi highway was jammed. It took so long to download pictures to post this that I didn’t get to finish. Tomorrow morning we leave for the Black Hills so I’ll drop by on the way out to finish this, and post the rest of Badlands when I next get wifi.
After the 100 degree day, tonight we had strong winds that blew some tents away and had other folks holding theirs down. Threatening dark clouds came along with the winds, and some thunder and lightening. Made for beautiful sunset and it finally calmed down with no rain and I think blew away the heat. Still some sunset color at 10pm!! The land of long daylight.
Windblown, but still on the road,
Lynn and Xena