A Bully Good Time in North Dakota

Some travelers avoid bucket lists, but I love a good challenge! So it’s no surprise I’m trying to make it to all 50 states, and this summer I visited my 48th: North Dakota.

Being nature people, my husband Brian and I decided to base ourselves in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a place we’d heard offers amazing wildlife experiences. Plus, it’s off the beaten path—always a plus.

An overlook in the national park, which houses some of Roosevelt's former ranchland. The president said the badlands have a "grim beauty."

An overlook in the national park, which houses some of Roosevelt’s former ranchland. The president said the badlands have a “grim beauty.”

We hiked and drove through the gorgeous badlands of the 70,000+-acre park, and the wildlife did not disappoint—we saw pronghorn, elk, a prairie rattlesnake, prairie dogs, feral horses, mule deer, turkeys, and of course plenty of the star attraction, bison. (One old male even decided to hang out near a visitor center, causing quite the stir!) The only wildlife species I wasn’t so crazy about was the deer fly, which left some seriously itchy sores on my legs. (I’m a bug magnet of epic proportions.)

We took a ride on this authentic stagecoach—it was pretty bumpy.

We took a ride on this authentic stagecoach—it was pretty bumpy.

Overall though, we relished being out of doors for four days straight, a sensation that unfortunately is all too rare in our lives. We also learned a ton about the incredible history of the area, much of which is rooted in Theodore Roosevelt and his affinity for the remote landscape.

The town of Medora, near the national park, is famous for its country-western variety show called the Medora Musical. This was its 50th year.

The town of Medora, near the national park, is famous for its country-western variety show called the Medora Musical. This was its 50th year.

We met some beautiful domestic horses while we were staying at a cabin in the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

We met some beautiful domestic horses while we were staying at a cabin in the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

I was lucky to write about our North Dakota adventures for the Washington Post—the story published this weekend in the Travel section.

In case you’re wondering, states 49 and 50 are Iowa and Hawaii—I hope to visit both in 2016! I’ll keep you posted.

Christine

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