after our visit to the south unit, on our second day in belfield, nd, we made the fifty mile drive up to the north unit of theodore roosevelt national park. it was definitely a different feel from the south unit, a bit smaller (or at least the drive was shorter), and was way less populated. in all, we loved it.
our first stop was a little pullout area where we investigated the other worldly, mysterious “cannonball concretions”. the landscape was very interesting, even without the aforementioned cannonballs.
but as we rounded the corner and spotted the weird rocks poking out of the hills, we were mesmerized. so strange. i’m not sure if you’ll be able to read the information sign in my photo, but here’s a link to the nps site that explains them.
we climbed around for a bit, admiring this cool bit of geology. (and scoffing at the graffiti).
our next stop was a little hike/stroll along an interpretive trail/path that ended at this river that was significant for some reason i can no longer recall. (have you noticed a theme in my way belated blogging?)
after exerting ourselves on that probably less than a mile hike, we drove along to our next stop, and had a little car picnic lunch before out next expedition. this time we planned our biggest hike, out and back on part of the caprock coulee trail. it was another interpretive trail, with a little booklet at the trailhead and signs along the trail where we could read about geology, plants, and history.
it was pretty cool, but if i remember correctly, everyone was on high alert (borderline panicking) about the possibility of snakes. maybe? or maybe some other deadly creature.we definitely thought it was cool to find prickly pear cactuses in north dakota.
when we reached the turn around point, we made a family decision that i would continue on alone, while derek would lead the kiddos back to the car and they would drive to the next overlook and wait for me to arrive. so, off i went, into the wilderness, alone.
i was sort of obsessed with these orange flowers that dotted the landscape.
i made my way through rocky badlands, and then up through thick forest, to a ridge that peered down into valleys on both sides, and then finally to an open prairie, and finally across the park road and into a parking lot where my family was waiting for me. 🙂
my family was waiting for me at an overlook that is “the most photographed spot in north dakota” or some such moniker. we wandered around a bit, trying to figure out just what earned it this superlative. maybe the little building? either way, we took a bunch of pics, rested up, and then loaded back up for the rest of the drive.
we did spot a herd of bison in the distance, of which i have no good photos, but it capped off a pretty good day of national park frolicking. and thus concludes our time in the north unit….