Monday, August 15, 2011

I love the Badlands!

This past weekend I went to my favorite place on earth, the badlands in western North Dakota. It was just a quick trip and we didn’t get to spend as much time as I’d like to out there but it was still awesome. For the most part, North Dakota is flat especially in the Red River Valley region where I live. The soil here is rich and fertile which makes it very valuable farm land. But if you head west you start seeing much different terrain. Halfway across the state, in the capitol city of Bismarck you start seeing hills, and then once you get further west you will see the badlands. It’s almost like they appear out of nowhere. You will be driving and driving and DRIVING and then all of a sudden you have the most beautiful canyons and buttes and hills! VERY opposite of the eastern part of the state where I live.

me looking all touristy

I absolutely love it out there. I’d live out there if I could! When I’m out there I always find myself daydreaming about what it was like to live there in the 1800’s. Here is a little fun fact for you. President Theodore Roosevelt once said "I never would have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.” He was referring to area where we were last weekend. We watched a video at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and they described the outfit that TR was wearing when he showed up. It made me giggle, to know that he showed up out west wearing a custom buckskin suit from brooks brothers and carried a silver hunting knife from Tiffany’s. I can only imagine what people thought when he arrived there!

Anyways being out west made me incredibly “horse-sick”. I wanted to ride out there SOOOO BAD! Everywhere I looked was something horse-y. When we stopped at the painted canyon scenic rest stop there was a trailer with halters tied to it which meant some people were having fun riding through the canyons. Then when we rolled up to the town of Medora, we passed the Medora riding stables. It’s a dude ranch that I’ve ridden at a few times. I was actually hired to be the assistant manager there for a season years ago but I passed on the job and I have kicked myself for every single summer since. Ugh! It would have been amazing to work there for a year!

We then decided to drive through the park. It’s a 36 mile loop through the canyons. I of course kept daydreaming that I was on horseback exploring. We had to stop in the road as a trail riding group passed. I was sad that I wasn’t up there riding. I always think it’s funny to see people riding that have never been on a horse. I found myself mentally correcting each rider as they passed. “Lengthen stirrups”, “get off that poor horse’s mouth!” “fix your reins!” I am a jerk…lol.

We saw a bit of wildlife in the park. But we didn’t see any of the wild horses. Most of the horses that are living in the park are descendants of ranchers horses and cavalry horses, but most of them are modern ranch horses that have gotten away and joined herds. We got real close to some prairie dogs and a small herd of bison though. Hundreds of years ago, bison herds were as big 10 miles wide, but of course they were hunted into almost extinction when white people came west. I can’t even begin to imagine seeing a herd as big as 10 miles wide! We saw one herd with about 25 and the one we drove right up next to had about 15. The cows were scrawny but the Males were HUGE! And of course the calves were adorable.

When we got back into town we stopped in a bunch of touristy shops which had tons of western inspired souvenirs. Both hubby and I have been looking for new boots so we tried on a bunch of pairs. We don’t NEED new boots but we WANT new boots lol. But we couldn’t find a pair we had to have. We were walking on the boardwalk when two girls rode up on horseback. Super jealous. They were laughing and having a good time. I wanted to be on my horse riding through town, laughing and having a good time as tourists took my picture and little kids asked to pet my horse.

The hubby took me over to the Mah Dah Hey trail that his uncles and he go on when they bring their horses out there. It had a horse campground with trailer parking and little corals. We both really wished we had our horses. So we got to talking and now our trailer hunt is getting serious. We want to find one soon so we can maybe even get out there this fall! (I have another post planned about trailer hunting for tomorrow.)

After we did some shopping and eating ice cream we went and watched a little “gun fight”. Bless their hearts they tried, but it was the worst acting ever. I probably wouldn’t do any better but it was kind of fun to see. I wish we lived closer so I could dress up in old time clothes and shoot guns every day in Medora! Maybe one day when I’m older haha.

We then went on a quick tour of the ND cowboy hall of fame museum. I loved it. We watched a video on the history of man and his horse in the west. Of course it made me want to ride my horse lol. I just love the history of the west and I love that they acknowledged that horses were a big part of the western expansion and the cowboy lifestyle. It also had a large portion of the move about how horses were a major part of the plains Indians culture and way of life. I am fascinated by Native American culture.

All in all it was a great little trip out there. I love the badlands as much as I ever have. And can’t WAIT to bring Piney out there to explore with me! He’s actually been to the badlands. Of course he was in the trailer and we were hopelessly lost but next time we’ll be riding and not lost in a trailer haha.

Oh and I DID end up getting a new pair of boots. They are winter boots but I love them. I wore them home yesterday even though they made me feet really really warm haha.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like my kind of trip! Vey nice photographs. It's funny, I do the same thing when i watch "newbies" on a trailride like that. I guess I'm a snob. It really does bug me when I can see the horse uncomfortable because of it, like pulling on the mouth and things. those boots look very cozy too.