LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — October Trails

“But your solitude will be your home and haven even in the midst of very strange conditions, and from there you will discover all your paths.”Ranier Maria Rilke

My path this past week took me to North Dakota’s Roughrider Country.

Our first stop was a meeting of the Little Missouri River Commission in Dickinson, where we bore witness to this recent effort to bring the river’s landowners to the table in making decisions that impact the river about which we care so much. Reporter Amy Dalrymple writes about the meeting.

It was a marathon meeting, with a room full of people who care about the river. We had intended to spend the night at the Logging Camp Ranch, however, it was dark by the time the meeting ended, and we were going to be right back on the road the next morning, so we opted instead for a night at the Rough Rider Hotel in Medora, postponing our visit to the ranch for another time when we can linger in the pines.

The next morning’s drive took us south on U.S. Highway 85 to Amidon, the county seat of my home country, Slope County. Our first destination was the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman. It is a first-rate museum, with many informative displays, artfully designed. The recognition of so many familiar names among the stalwarts who work and volunteer at this museum only added to our enjoyment. Kudos to the Pearsons and to Chris Fulton, and to all who have donated or loaned items for the collections.

It is in this display that the Bowman, N.D., artist Chris Fulton’s influence is most apparent. Good for her!

Naturally, this photo caught my eye, the general being a very distant relative of mine.

The Fisk Expedition passed very nearby to the area that became my family home ranch, and the person who has written the definitive book on Fort Dilts is an old family friend, Dean Pearson, with whom I grew up playing board games like “Risk” and “Monopoly.”

The last display we lingered over featured the names and details of the area veterans. We found my father’s and my husband’s entry and many other people we have known over the years.

Outside the museum, we explored the sod house and the old church.

Onward we traveled to Hettinger, Jim’s hometown. He had been searching unsuccessfully in Bismarck for straw bales for mulching our garlic bed. As we neared the town, I suggested that perhaps the Hettinger Runnings might have some and, by golly, they did. After a little debate, we decided to rearrange our load and take two home, perhaps one of the strangest things we’ve ever hauled in our Highlander to date.

Our next stop was the excellent Dakota Buttes Museum, which is filled with interesting displays and presents a colorful picture of the lifeways of this area of southwestern North Dakota. Our cheerful guide was resident and volunteer extraordinaire, Loren Luckow, who proudly showed us some of the new acquisitions.

Last week, Jim had read in the Adams County Record that there was a new Thai restaurant, so we headed there for a delicious lunch. Who knew that someday there would be a Thai place in this small town? Not the Fuglie kids when they were growing up, that I can say.

We finished our time in Hettinger with a visit to an old friend who lives in the nursing home there and then traveled on to tiny Haynes, where there is a beautiful old school, now abandoned, and an interesting petrified wood structure in what was the city park.

Finally, it was time to head north toward home. This being fall, Jim had brought along his shotgun and our springer spaniel, so we were watchful for pheasants. The sight of my man and his happy dog always warms my heart.

Our route took us through Regent. I’d not yet seen the Enchanted Castle Hotel and Tavern, so I begged that we stop for a drink and a lookie-loo. Regent artist Gary Greff has created the sculptures found all along the Enchanted Highway and has converted the old school to this amusing new destination.

In the prairie dusk, we drove home, past Hettinger County’s Black Butte. It was time to get home to cheer on the Chicago Cubs to their late-night victory from the comfort of our living room.

Back home, Jim went to work on prepping next year’s tomato seeds he has saved and freezing the last of this year’s crop.

Oh, and I unloaded those straw bales and cleaned out the mess in the car.

One thought on “LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — October Trails”

Leave a Reply