Monday, August 8, 2016

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND –Part 2…

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One blog was not enough to cover what we did and saw in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With fabulous hikes (albeit short ones) up the Ridgeline Nature Trail, the Coal Vein Trail and the hike up Buck Hill (the highest point in the National Park South Unit) we really had a great time exploring this national wonder.

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We focused mainly on the South Park which is more than an hour long drive south of its northern counterpart. This rolling and wide open prairie landscape is home to a fairly diverse population of wildlife. We were fortunate to see lots of wildlife on this trip including Bison, pronghorn, deer and wild horses as well as having plenty of fun watching the prairie dogs.

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How fun it was to see numerous wild horses and wild roaming buffalo.... and even better was to see them is such a splendid environment. Both the horses and the buffalo had babies in tow and it was a treat to watch them dote over them. Seeing horses in the wild is such a treat and even though they don't look a lot different than those that are domesticated they have that presence about them that expresses freedom…

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We also saw a Golden Eagle soaring along the tops of the craggy hills looking for a treat. We scared up a couple of Greater Prairie Chickens while hiking as well as numerous species of grassland sparrows. We saw wild turkeys spied a Black-billed Magpie feasting on an unsuspecting  prairie dog who unfortunately got run over by an over zealous tourist.

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The coolest bird sighting of all for us was one of a Northern Harrier. Though it is a very common hawk in these parts, what made this sighting so great was the hawk was stalking prairie dogs. This Northern Harrier was not flying high and looking for that solid opportunity to swoop down and catch an unsuspecting prairie dog. No, not at all.

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This Northern Harrier was on the ground walking around (and occasionally flying) from prairie dog hole to prairie dog hole seeking an overly curious prairie dog peeking out to see what the ruckus was. As the hawk would move to look into the next hole a chorus of prairie dog barks would alert the ones less vigilant. We watched this for 20 minutes or so before the hawk finally gave up and moved on. This was a fun National Geographic moment for us to observe…

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We also loved, loved, loved watching the prairie dogs in their communal lifestyle. Their “towns” were massive and it was interesting to see some that had made their homes in seams of coal. Those who did were significantly darker (blacker) than their paler counterparts who chose to burrow in sand. Listening to their little “barks” was a treat each and every time we stopped to watch them.

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Our last day visiting the park we stopped by to meet Nina and Paul of the blog Wheeling It as they were staying at the National Park Cottonwood Campground.  We have been near each other in several locations but had never met in person.  It was fun to finally meet them both and like meeting other RV’ers on the road the conversation flowed easily and the time flew by.  We bid them farewell and will continue to follow their blog as they continue their eastward trek! Safe travels you two… 

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Yep, we certainly have no regrets going out of our way to this remote location in western North Dakota. It certainly exceeded our expectations…

NOTE: We have been on the move staying one or two days at a few spots along our way to Kalispell, Montana where we have a month booked starting on the 13th.


  1. It's just wonderful! I love your pictures. I wish to go to the same area next year. We start out in March. We will plan slate June or July trip to N Dakota. We go to Yellowstone the second week in June. When I look at your pictures I get so excited!! Thank you very much!!

  2. Wow...what a wonderful stop. I love seeing all these photos. The wild horses are beautiful.

  3. We love that park. Several friends have visited there this year. I think your visit was pretty darn close to Nickie and Jimmy from Out and About blog fame. Such a wonderful place. An interesting read about it is included in Terry Tempest Williams' new book, "This Hour of Land". You might find it interesting.

  4. Still following you (although you speeded up considerably) The NP is our next destination also looks like a great place for wildlife. Not sure which direction we are going after that....volunteering at Albuquerque Balloon Festival Oct 1.

  5. Still following you (although you speeded up considerably) The NP is our next destination also looks like a great place for wildlife. Not sure which direction we are going after that....volunteering at Albuquerque Balloon Festival Oct 1.

  6. Fantastic photos! Love the bison and wild horses there.

  7. I've heard so many people say they haven't been to North Dakota. There's so much to see there and no crowds.

  8. We love the remote area as well, but not much chance of us going to North Dakota in the winter when we head south.
    Awesome pictures.

  9. Love all your wild animal photos especially those affectionate prairie dogs.

  10. We were there in the spring so it was fun seeing it through your eyes which pretty much was what we saw through ours :-) Thanks