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.
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.)
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.
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.