Saturday, September 26, 2015


We spent our last morning at Devils Tower taking a 5 mile hike around the tower. Beautiful early in the morning.  We then pulled up stakes and continued east into South Dakota and the Black Hills.  Of course any trip to the Black Hill wouldn't be complete without stopping to pay a visit to the presidents at Mt. Rushmore.  We had been there once before in the 80's and at the time the new visitors center was under construction.  Now completed, it really looks great.  No entrance fee, but it did cost $11 to park.  There's been talk of putting Obama to the left of President Lincoln.  What do you think?

The Confederate Flag has not been banned at Mt. Rushmore

As a bike rider I'm always looking for designated bike trails to explore.  For me, I like level and I'm not into mountain biking, so you can say I like easy.  The George Mickelson Trail is one such trail.  Running from Edgemont to Deadwood, a distance of 110 miles, the trail follows the abandoned Burlington Northern rail line.  With grades no more that 4%, it is my kind of bike ride.
No, I didn't do in entire 110 miles, but did go for about 20 miles.  I'll have to return to finish it one day.

We headed north from the Black Hills into North Dakota for a visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  In the Bad Lands of Western North Dakota, the park is divided into the south and north units, which are about 50 miles apart.  Both sections of the park are bisected by the Little Missouri River, which takes on the brown color of the bad lands.  From the park service web site:

When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.

With bison and wild horses roaming the landscape it is almost like going back it time.  We took a look in a cabin that TR lived in for a while and also drove the back roads to the site of his ranch on the banks of the Little Missouri.

We did see bison from time to time, one here a couple over there, but one evening we took a drive on the the park loop.  Bison were everywhere, especially after it got dark and usually in the middle of the road.  I guess we must have seen over 100 of them.

We wanted this campsite, but it was taken

We caught Teddy outside of his cabin.

We did manage to get in a hike or two.  One was to the petrified forest, where there are lots of tree stumps.

 Road to Teddy's Ranch

Oil wells are everywhere in this part of the state.  The oil boom is in full swing, so if you want a job, this is the place to get one.


About the trees being cut down in the Hart Mountain Antelope Reserve.  I sent the following e-mail and have yet to get a response:

On a visit to the refuge I noticed that Juniper trees were being cut down.  I spoke with a volunteer who told me that they were being cut down to make the refuge like it was 100 years ago.  Is this true?  Aren't the Junipers natural to the area?  If they are what possible good could it do to cut them down?  Who made the decision to cut them down?  Unless they are a non native plant overtaking native plants, I can't imagine that you could provide me with a reasonable answer.

I sent a follow up e-mail and again, no response.  I haven't given up, so next will be a phone call.  I'll keep you apprised of any news.


Nick Saraceni said...

Those shots in the fog are the best. Those bastard government people need to read up on global warming and the effect of cutting trees down on world weather patterns!

Dibb Family said...

Great pics. Love the bike trail. That would be a cool ride. I'm also not into hills...