North Dakota: The 19th largest state in area & the 4th most sparsely populated!
The Only National Park Named for a Person
When I rose at 4:45 AM to head to Roosevelt National Park, I had no idea what the road ahead would be or where I'd be sleeping that night. The Park only reserves half of the campsites, and in summer that means planning way too far ahead for my liking. But, it was a Monday, and I was feeling confident that as an early bird, I'd have a spot to call home. The five-hour drive was absolutely gorgeous; so scenic in fact that I didn't stop to take a photo as I felt it was impossible to capture the panoramic view.
To say I enjoyed Roosevelt NP is truly an understatement, and it is second only to southern Utah as a place I will return as a volunteer. It has an abundance of wildlife, amazing viewpoints, many ranger programs, miles of hiking trails, and any paved road is open to bicycling. This Park is not overcrowded, over-developed or traffic-laden. While I stayed in the south unit and visited the painted canyon, I didn't go the additional 65+ miles to the north unit so that is on my list! In fact, I chatted with a ranger who said that if I visited the north area in the fall season (late September), I'd likely have the campground to myself.
I must confess one thing, however. This is definitely where I had my first true wildlife scare. As I was strolling along the Jones Creek trail, I came face-to-face with a giant bison within 10 feet of me (a 25-foot distance is recommended). I think we were equally surprised, as I came around a curve just as he was coming up a small hill summit. Amazingly, he turned around on the narrow path but waited, so I had to scurry in the other direction. I scurried right to another trail, thank you!
Fargo: the size of Boston with a population of 121,000
Did I want to spend more than 24 hours in Fargo? You betcha!
While I did bike the Red River path, walk many miles around town, and see the major sites, I just liked Fargo and could have spent another day simply hanging out on Broadway, and enjoying the very friendly people. While I found the South Dakotans to be courteous, the North Dakotans were truly warm and welcoming.
7/30/2018 10:31:07 am
Judy: Interesting that you long to revisit North Dakota. I view the area and think far too desolate. Meeting up with that bison was scary to read about especially since you love to wander on your own. You must have one overworked guardian angel.
7/30/2018 06:52:32 pm
Eileen: Yes, it is so beautiful there and relaxed. I'm now dragging my feet to return to the insanity of the east coast. You are correct, however, on the guardian angel! A matter of seconds could've made a difference! I did think that the bison was as surprised as I was though!
7/30/2018 10:52:31 pm
Hi J... love your photos and what amazing travels. Wondering about Joe Ferris' store! And can't believe the bison story. Too close for comfort and why I can't camp. Excited to see MN.
8/1/2018 10:21:29 am
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Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover