Theodore Roosevelt NP: North Unit

The North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park receives fewer visitors than the South Unit due to it being an hour drive from I-94. It has its own Visitor Center located in a trailer near the entrance. There is a port-a-potty at the Visitor Center parking lot; flush toilets and running water can be found at the Juniper Campground during the summer.

We drove the 14 mile scenic road, which is currently being worked on in sections. We stopped to look at the cannonball concretions – boulders shaped like cannonballs.

cannonball

We parked at the Caprock Coulee Trail-head and hiked to the Prairie Dog Town via the Buckhorn Trail. It was so neat being the only people on the trail. Unlike the South Unit where you can see Prairie Dogs from you car, in the North Unit you have to hike out to their homes. Since, not many people do so, I assumed the Prairie Dogs would be more afraid of us and hide, but they didn’t. I was fascinated watching and taking pictures of them. One Prairie Dog must’ve been curious about us too because he made his way towards us. I’m standing there just snapping away getting great pictures of him when I realized that my foot was now in the frame. He (I say he, it could have been a girl Prairie Dog, who knows) came within a foot of where I was standing. I got scared he was going to run up my leg or bite my toes so I shrieked and jumped back and scared the poor thing off – favorite story of the whole trip.

p2p3

prairie dog.png
yes, I do have a terrible shoe tan

The rock formations in Theodore Roosevelt National Park are fascinating.

caprock
some rocks are harder than others, the soft ones erode and the harder ones form helmets called caprocks, which protect the soft rocks underneath it

After I scared the Prairie Dog off we returned to the Trail-head where we ran into a Park Ranger with a group of people. He played 20 questions with us, drilling us about our hike and what animals we did or didn’t see. We then continued on our way along the park road.

We stopped at the River Bend Overlook, said to be the most photographed place in North Dakota. I can see why; the view is gorgeous.

We ran into the same Park Ranger as before and played 20 questions again, this time about where we were from, why we were in North Dakota, etc. (I think the Park Rangers in the North Unit really enjoy having someone to talk to since they don’t get many visitors.)

There was a storm rolling in so we made a quick stop at the Oxbow Overlook and headed back to Medora.

O1
an oxbow is created as the river changes course overtime – it appears to be turning in on itself

 

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