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North Unit of TRNP

Posted by on June 25, 2009


Since we live less than two hundred yards from the entrance to the south unit of the Theodore Roosevelt NP we frequent it often. However, we wanted to take Erin into the North Unit as we understood the scenery and wildlife to be more abundant. There is only two ways to get there from Medora. One is the seventy mile Mah Daah Hey Trail which winds north along the Little Missouri River. But the trail only accomodates bikes, horses and foot traffic. We would have to double back the fifteen miles to route 85 and then head north another fifty two miles into the flattest land in the western United States. Once we did arrive however, the scenery proved spectacular.  The vistas were a bit ladened with a bit more foliage than the southern unit and the chasms seemed much deeper than we had been used to.  The buffalo herds proved to be more plentiful than we had been accustomed to seeing in Medora but the size of the range roamers were much smaller in this unit of the park. Which gave rise to the question–is a bison bigger than a buffalo or are they the same thing. I’ll have to look that one up.  We did see some rattlers and got some real good closeups. In fact, we saved a meadowlark from being devoured when we came upon one to photograph and the bird was able to get away while we occupied the serpents attention.  Wild horses, buffalo, longhorn cattle, and the ominous rattlers were the fare of the day. We had hoped to see at least one of the thirty one big horned sheep that inhabit the park but not on this day. However, we did catch some great clouds as the big sky opened up to a fifteen minute deluge so severe that we had to pull over and wait because it pelted the windshield so hard we just couldn’t see to drive. But it did bring out the herds. Erin was ecstatic with fear as several times she had to literally run back to the Jeep as an agitated buffalo or an irritated rattlesnake sought to pursue her.  She would have me feel her pulse stating she felt her heart was going to jump out of her skin. “Dad, this is the most excited I’ve been in awhile”, she kept saying over and over.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow as much as we had making it for you.

3 Responses to North Unit of TRNP

  1. Debbie

    Travels with Gypsy Larry thru the Wild Kingdoms…….an exciting trip with he and his family through these United States to witness the wonders of nature that few of us have the where withall or time to see…………they just keep getting better………

  2. Lewis

    Hope you were using your 300 mm lens when you took the picture of the snake. Good slide show.

  3. larry

    OH my, yes I was. I was about 8 feet from that rattler and I wasn’t getting any closer. In fact, when the told me that they could strike the length of their bodies I realized after the fact that 8 feet was entirely too close. But thanks for the compliments Lewis. I appreciate it.

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