Animals, Animals, Everywhere!

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Saturday we left Mt Rushmore and drove 4.5 hours north to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND.  A visit to this park meant an approximately 9 hour driving detour from what could have otherwise been a short hop from Mt. Rushmore to the SD Badlands.  Sometimes a quest such as our forces your hand to take some pretty circuitous routes…  we set off not exactly sure what the ND badlands had to offer that the SD badlands did not.  After a buffalo burger dinner in Medora, we were off to find out.
We took a sunset drive along the scenic route and the answer became clear… ANIMALS.    We got to see a wide variety of wild animals during our drive. IMG_4146
We saw 3 different buffalo.  Two from afar and one very up close… so close in fact that we watched him cross the road in front of us. 
We also saw plenty of prairie dogs, an antelope, and a herd of wild horses!
After sunset, when it was just about dark, we came across a herd of elk and 2 badgers!  We found out the next morning that these were both special sites… the ranger at the ranger station hasn’t even seen a badger yet and to come across a herd of elk is also a rare treat!
In addition to all the wild animals, we got some great views of the North Dakota badlands.
The family particularly enjoyed playing at the top of the highest hill in the park as the sun set over the grassland/badlands before us.
roosevelt collage1
IMG_4404Then we headed back to our tent to settle in for the night.   The kids were eager to show off the pictures they had taken on the trip.  It was really fun to see their pictures and get a kids eye view of life in the back seat.
Scott slipped out after we went to sleep to capture the gorgeous night sky. Milky Way in ND
IMG_4432We had two choices for our camp site… one was right by the road, in the shade and much closer to the bathroom.  The other involved a rather long walk from the car, an even longer walk to the bathroom, and no shade.  But, it was along the river. IMG_4119 The kids lobbied hard for the river spot and were even willing to help with hauling our supplies to and from the van.  I must confess it was a pretty spectacular spot to sip my coffee and eat my oatmeal in the morning.  What made the morning even sweeter is not having to deal with any throw up… all seem to be fine and healthy again in the circus crew.
The trek up to Theodore Roosevelt National Park was driven by our need to “check the box” in our quest to see every national park.  It proved to be a truly enjoyable, animal filled, family adventure worth the extra miles.

1 comment:

  1. So glad that this proved to be a rewarding detour to get that NP checked off the list. I'm so jealous of all the animals that you saw!! Your Dad and I try so hard to find animals on our trips. Glad that the kids are enjoying taking pictures too.


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