Theodore Roosevelt National Park

At the end of June, I attended a letterpress conference in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I drove there and back, stopping in Milwaukee to catch up with old friend Adam Beadel, who is in the process of setting up a letterpress shop there (photos to follow). Driving through North Dakota, I stopped at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a surprise outing in a National Park I was unfamiliar with. The park itself is physically divided in two areas, a north and south section. I visited the southern half, which boasted wild horses and free roaming buffalo. Theodore Roosevelt is North Dakota’s Badlands, a more lush, foliage covered sister-park with similar geographic features. I spent approximately four hours driving through the park, stopping at various sites, walking short nature trails. From the subsequent literature I’ve read, it’s the back country hiking that makes this area exceptional.

The landscape was beautiful but the stars of the park, for me, were the wild horses. I first saw a group of about a dozen horses standing on a hill, outlined by blue sky, as I rounded a bend. I pulled over and watched them for 20 minutes until I realized that they were moving down the back of the hill. I hoped for a better view, and continued to drive. I was stunned to almost two dozen horses– stallions, mares and foals– wallowing in a shallow puddle, coating their skin in thick, grey mud. It was nearing sunset, and several small foals raced around as their mothers rolled around in the grass. This was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Judy and the dream of horses, indeed.

And then there was a wild herd of buffalo…

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