LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — River Of My Heart

Poor little river of my heart, my Little Missouri River. In this year of drought, you are sadly diminished. Monday night’s storm was mostly lightning and thunder and just a trace of rain. This morning dawned another scorching day.

Prairie fires continue in western North Dakota.

The bison and horses and birds continue their wild lives here at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The wind blows in the cottonwoods, and there is music in their brittle leaves.  There is almost no current in the river.

There are campers here, and folks are languid in the heat, but enjoying this peaceful place. Children play in the water.  We are drawn to the lifeforce that is water and to the shade of the great cottonwoods.

While many of the breeding birds have gone quiet now, the Western and Eastern kingbirds continue their chatter.

When we lived in Medora, it was my great privilege to work for the National Park Service, as the museum technician, and many of my friends are (or were) NPS staff. God bless them all for the work they do for our country’s treasures.

I’ve hiked every trail in the three units of TRNP, many times, and all of the Maah Daah Hey. But truth be told, my favorite trail is any I’ve bushwacked, either alone or with Jim, or a few close friends. I’ve biked the loop road and cross-country skied and worked on trail maintenance and other projects, and there is no doubt I love this park.

Today while I enjoy the park, my husband (who’d rather be here with me wading and taking in the solace of the Bad Lands) is in Medora giving a speech to the Association of Rural Telephone Cooperatives about why the park is important. He is a warrior.

If we inspire you to show your love of the Bad Lands, please join us and other like-minded citizens who are members of Friends of TRNP and Badlands Conservation Alliance.

Happy trails.

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