2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Theordore Roosevelt National Park

We had no idea what this park was like until we read up on it during our trip planning research.  Since it was one of the few National Parks that we hadn't been to, we decided to go to North Dakota.  From the park brochure, ""I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota," Theodore Roosevelt remarked when reflecting on the influences that affected him throughout his life.  Here, too, Roosevelt sharpened and refined his interests in nature and conservation."

Click on this photo to enlarge it for reading.  A photo of the Maltese Cross cabin is further on in this posting.  "Roosevelt first came to the badlands in September 1883.  Before returning home to New York he became interested in the cattle business and joined two other men as partners in the Maltese Cross Ranch.  The next year he returned and established a second open-range ranch, the Elkhorn, as his own operation while continuing as a Maltese Cross partner.  The Elkhorn became his principal residence, a place where he could lead the "strenuous life" that he loved.  The prospect of big game hunting had initially brought Roosevelt to the West.  But when he arrived the last large herds of bison were gone, having been decimated by hide hunters an disease."

The words on this display are enlarge in the next photo.  "By spending time in the Dakota Territory, he became alarmed by the damage that was being done to the land and its wildlife.  He witnessed the destruction of some big game species.  Over-grazing destroyed the grasslands and with the habitats for small mammals and songbirds.  Conservation increasingly became one of Roosevelt's major concerns.  When he became President in 1901, Roosevelt pursued this interest in natural history by establishing the U.S. Forest Service and by signing the 1906 Antiquities Act under which he proclaimed 18 national monuments.  He also got Congressional approval for the establishment of five national parks and 51 wildlife refuges and set aside land as national forests."

As a conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt was a major figure in American history.  Here in the North Dakota badlands, where many of his personal concerns first gave rise to his later environmental efforts, Roosevelt is remembers with a national park that honors the memory of this great conservationist."

This post is also about the park and its history.  "About 60 million years ago, streams carried eroded materials eastward from the young Rocky Mountains and deposited them on a vast lowland - today's Great Plains.  During the warm, rainy periods that followed, dense vegetation grew, fell into swampy areas, and was later buried by new layers of sediments.  Eventually this plant material turned into lignite coal.  Some plant life became petrified.  Today considerable amounts of petrified wood are exposed in the badlands.  Bentonite, the blue-gray layer of clay, may be traced to ash from ancient volcanoes far to the west.  But even as sediments were being deposited, streams were starting to cut down through the soft strata and to sculpt the infinite variety of buttes, tablelands, and valleys that make up the badlands we know today."

We didn't see any black-footed ferrets or mule deer while we were in the park but we did see buffalo prairie dogs and deer.

"Today only foundation blocks mark the site of this second home"

Click to read

Roosevelt presidential ad campaign shows Roosevelt cleaning up the U.S (represented by the eagle).

The Maltese Cross cabin, the main house on Roosevelt's first ranch, was a substantial, soundly built structure that now stands behind the south unit visitor center.

Sometimes the trails really went down into the canyons.  As you can see, I really meant the "down" part. 

Still going down.

We didn't end up going back up this way.

This is where we went up but we didn't go back to the top of the hill.

This shows the high and low trail that we hiked at this location.

You really can't tell in this photo but it looked like the hills were leaking gold.
Nope, you still can't see what I mean by this photo.  Bummers.

We saw wild horses a couple of times.

This photo shows the black layer of lignite coal.

We saw buffalo quite a few times.  This fellow was just hanging out along the road up to Buck Hill, the highest point in the park at 2,855 foot.

From the top of Buck Hill we could see buffalo hanging out along the water's edge.

Had to zoom in with the camera to really see them.

Rocks on the top of Buck Hill.

Trail to the top of Buck Hill.

Don't know what this was growing on the trees along the Painted Canyon trail.

Start of the Boicourt Overlook trail.

Yep, Prickly Pear cacti in North Dakota.

I can't believe how soft these dwarf sage brush bushes are.

Those people are standing out at the end of Boicourt Trail.

Ah thistle, they're everywhere, aren't they?
Worn sandstone.

View of the Little Missouri River from Wind Canyon Trail.

From the top of the Wind Canyon Trail we could see the buffalo headed toward the road.  They caused a buffalo jam.

Wind Canyon


Another group of buffalo head toward the road as we are leaving Wind Canyon.

There are lots of prairie dog towns throughout the park.

The National Park road goes over I-94.

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