We slipped away from domestic chores this week for an interlude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) along with a night in the charming village of Medora, N.D., where we were treated to two very pleasant days, warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze. We took a hike on the Jones Creek trail and two drives through the Park loop road for wildlife viewing and strolled around Medora after supper.
The wildflowers are abundant with plentiful rains. The highlights of the visit were being greeting by my sister in her new job at the TRNP entrance station and the huge herd of bison walking by our car (more on that later).
Sometimes visits to the park are all about the wild horses, sometimes the birds (we did see a pair of bald eagles), sometimes the wildflowers, but this time it was all about the bison.
At the trailhead, we had a friendly chat with visitors from Great Britain and Germany, who were in awe of the bison bull hanging around nearby as well as the fact that we were actually going to hike in his vicinity. They had just been to Yellowstone and Glacier and just happened upon TRNP as they made their way to Minneapolis leaving them very happy about this.
The Rocky Mountain juniper provide welcome shade, here and there on the trail.
The bacciferous shrubs are loaded with berries this year, especially the buffaloberry and chokecherry bushes. The sharp-tailed grouse and other birds will feast this winter.
I am in awe of the bison and can never get enough time with them. We had considered another hike, but came around the corner to find a herd of over 200, including about 12 bulls, right on the road. They were all around us, and some of the bulls were sparring because it is full rut season. Many were also rolling in the dust.
Thanks to the moonroof on our Toyota, I was able to get some great video footage, which you can enjoy below. Be sure to watch the one with the bison calf that got separated from its cow but makes an escape at the end, as well as the one with the vocalizing rutting bull that stood next to our car for an extended period. Perhaps the only North American megafauna that is more impressive is the grizzly. Both should be given wide berth.
Until the next dispatch from this Wild Dakota Woman, I encourage you to get outdoors for the good of your spirit!