Tuesday, August 25, 2009
We decided to travel from eastern North Dakota and drop down southward to take in the Theodore National Park. What a good decision that turned out to be. The park lies nestled in the badlands, which have their own austere beauty, and it had a camp ground which was fairly centrally located. We found a nice spot tucked in toward the back and got set up. The campground was only half filled and we found out from the park rangers that the south side of the park, some 50 miles away, was filled. We drove around the park along the 14-mile road which is a great way to see a lot of it and were amazed at the numbers of bison. It seemed as though they were everywhere and they didn’t seem to be fazed by people in the least. As we hiked along the trails, I could certainly see why President Roosevelt was captivated by this place and chose to start a cattle operation here as a young man. To climb high on a ridge and look over the Little Missouri River gave you an exquisite bird’s eye view. The rock formations, with their varied colorations and shapes, were extraordinary. We were so taken with everything that we decided to spend the next four days there. Of course we began rethinking that decision, when we awakened the next morning and found that one of the bison herds had taken over the camp! They were not a bit shy about walking into a campsite to graze or take a nap---it was quite the sight! Another enjoyable hike found us in the middle of a prairie dog town. These cute little creatures are nearly as curious about you as you are about them, but if you get too close, the males sound the alarm with a series of short “barks.” The park, particularly the northern section, is a little ‘off the beaten path’ but we would highly recommend you plan to visit and spend several days there if you can. It has been one of our favorite places to date.