|Welcome sign at South Unit|
Roosevelt spent several years in North Dakota as a young man, owning a ranch in the rugged Dakota Badlands. He returned to New York in 1887, but living there left on indelible mark on his life: "I have always said I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota."
For me, spending only a couple days in the (choose one, two or all) Peace Garden, Flickertail, or Roughrider State, it was a memorable experience. And yes, I would love to return and explore more of the Dakotas -- North and South.
My wife, Mary, and I entered the South Unit of the national park at Medora, taking a driving tour through the Badlands. Then we drove another 70 miles or so to see the North Unit, near Watford City. There is also Elkhorn Ranch Unit, the site of Roosevelt's second ranch, located midway between the North and South Units and inaccessible at times because of unpaved and steep roads (we didn't want to put our Prius through that).
The national park, established in 1947 to honor the great conservationist and 26th president, is fascinating -- the museum in the South Unit Visitor Center, prairie dog "towns," feral horses, bighorn sheep, bison, grasslands, and the colorful canyons. The Little Missouri River winds it way through the units.
|Roundup of bison|
|Bucking bronco statue|
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Next stop: Bismarck, North Dakota.
Until the next time....