Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park
Medora Travel Blog› entry 9 of 14 › view all entries
Weâ€™re discovering that our trip is shadowing the travels of 4 famous Americans, even though we didnâ€™t originally plan it that way. The men are Theodore Roosevelt, Meriwether Lewis, George Rogers Clark and George Armstrong Custer. I told you about Custerâ€™s last battle in an earlier posting; today itâ€™s Theodore Roosevelt that influences our travel.
As we left Miles City, MT going east the heat (still with highs over 100) and dust made the air hazy. There are more brown and gold hills with rich green along the river. The hills are layered with a few cattle bunching together in whatever shade they can find by water holes and no other signs of life. Hidden canyons and isolated treeless heights are austere. This is not settled land â€“ people perch here, survive â€“ man has not transformed this land.
In the heat of the mid-afternoon, we drove the 36 mile loop thru the South unit of the park. We stopped for scenic overlooks and prairie dog towns. It was not the best time for photography. (Scenery looks better with the sideways light of morning or late afternoon to give shadows and provide depth to the image. Noontime scenery looks flat and dull in photos.) Then we drove 50 some miles north to the North unit of the park and had better light by the time we got there. The North unit is way off the
By the time we drove back to see the South unit again, the light was perfect. Even better, the wildlife was visible. The herds of buffalo use the road as an easy path to their nighttime area and we were surrounded by herds of them twice. We stopped to watch as they walked toward us. This first herd had a large bull who challenged our car. He ambled directly in front of the bumper, lowered his head, slobbered, grunted, flicked his ears and stuck out a large purple tongue. We would have been happy to back up and give him the road but there were buffalo behind us too and we couldnâ€™t move. Finally he decided heâ€™d made his point and walked past my side of the car. I had the window rolled up and was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible while photographing him. No flash photography here.
We encountered wild horse herds that were also traveling along the road and went past and around our car. There were mule deer and rabbits everywhere and even a wild turkey that exploded out of the brush and over the car. It was a phenomenal experience in a wildly beautiful place.