This week I continue my North Dakota phase mostly because we spent almost two weeks in the state checking in on our mothers and enjoying the balmy weather. NOT! Our trip started with very cold, windy weather and some challenging roads between Madison and Minneapolis. After spending the night in Fargo, we woke up to sunshine and howling winds. When we got on the road heading west, there was heavy ground drifting and in some places, white out conditions. It was at the this point when we vowed not to make this trip in the winter again unless absolutely necessary! As we approached Bismarck, the winds let up and for most of the rest of our stay the weather was reasonable. They have a lot of snow, some places over 60 inches so far. They’ve had at least three blizzards and some bitingly cold temperatures. Here are a few photos showing a couple of roads and how much snow has piled up and blocked the roads in some places.
During our stay, I had the opportunity to visit both the North and South Units of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It’s great all the time but I think it’s extra special in the winter months. First there are no crowds! Both days, I pretty much had the park to myself. Second, the wildlife, particularly the buffalo, are close to the road and fun to watch as they forage through the snow for something to eat. Also saw lots of pheasants, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, rabbits, whitetail and mule deer, and one wild horse. Third, the air is so fresh, clean and it seems like every breath gives a person new energy. Both days I was in the park, there was very little breeze so with the sun shining, it was very pleasant. Certainly, not picnic weather but exhilarating all the same! I took a lot of photos of the buffalo in both units, here are a few of my favorites.
While in the South Unit, I walked about a 1/4 mile from the parking lot to the Wind Canyon Lookout, one of the higher points in the park. It has a great view of the Little Missouri River and the surrounding valley. Here’ a panorama I took with my iPhone of my view from the lookout.
The following are single photos from the same overlook.
As I was leaving the Wind Canyon Lookout, I noticed some movement just off the trail. It was a rabbit just sitting and watching me from about 10 feet away! He didn’t move for several minutes while I took photos and even changed lenses. Nearby was his hidy-hole, a hollowed out sandstone rock facing south, out of the prevailing winds most of the time and in the sun when it shines. Smart too!
The following are a few more photos from my Park visit.
While visiting our mothers, I did some photography around the farms and surrounding area. Here are a few photos from the area where Donna grew up. The first photo is of sunrise over Hungry Man’s Butte about a mile and half from the farm.
And a few photos from the area where I grew up. The top three photos are of the Garrison Dam near Pick City, North Dakota.
More photos from the surrounding area.
The photo below is the rural church our family attended and my mother still attends.
At the Garrison Dam Tailrace where there is open water, thousands of Canada geese are wintering. They were pretty skittish so as I drove closer, they left the iced over areas for the open water. The sound of honking was very loud, I guess to warn each other that “danger” was approaching. All I wanted was a few “shots” with my camera!
In a previous post, I wrote about the townsite of Mannhaven. Here’s a photo from across the Missouri River looking towards the townsite. Note the geese on the water in the foreground.
Unlike our trip to North Dakota, our return trip was uneventful. Since the weather was mild the snow level had decreased and as we got closer to Madison, there was less and less snow. But never fear, we had another 6-7 inches of the wet, heavy variety this week!
Hope you enjoyed a little peek at North Dakota in the winter. It has it’s beauty in the winter but all I can say is be prepared!
Til next week, safe travels.