Theodore Roosevelt National Park

09/09/17 Saturday in Dickinson, ND

Breakfast was rather different from the offerings at Fairfield in Montana. Instead of cooked oatmeal, I found creamed gravy for the nearby biscuits. Instead of fluffy scrambled eggs there were eggs that looked like they were cooked for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins – shaped and rather rubbery. No black pepper in a grinder, but it was available in packets. After eating my egg and whining to John (at least he got his waffles, I went looking for milk and found packets of instant oatmeal. So I managed with that. How easily we are spoiled. It also strikes me that maybe people in ND prefer fast food to healthier food. Even the offerings at the grocery store seemed geared in that direction.

We got to the park at 9:30, after passing through the Little Missouri National Grasslands. The Theodore Roosevelt NP (the only National Park named for a person) includes the Little Missouri Badlands, which we could enjoy at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center in Medora, ND.

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Little Missouri National Grasslands

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Also in the Painted Canyon. Do you see the Bison?

This park came into being largely because Teddy Roosevelt wanted to get away, find relief from his grief over the loss of both his wife of just 4 years who died after a miscarriage, and the loss of his mother from typhoid. Both died on the same day. He loved the grim beauty of this place and soon became a cattle rancher. Even though his ranches failed he found adventure, purpose and wholeness here. He has been called our first conservation President: he established the US Forest Service, signed the 1906 Antiquities Act then proceeded to set aside numerous places of beauty: 18 national monuments, 5 national parks, 150 national forests and dozens of federal reserves. The Antiquities Act has been used by presidents ever since then to create new national monuments by executive action. Keeping true to his love for nature, this park encourages a lot of wildlife including wild horses, bison herds and black tailed prairie dogs. The scenery and all those wild animals made this a very special experience for us.


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Maltese Cabin, where Teddy Roosevelt stayed to grieve the deaths of this wife and mother. He loved rocking in rocking chairs.

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Note the rocking chairs.

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Maltese cross created by Roosevelt and pals by shooting into the end of a log.

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Black Tailed Prairie Dog

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Black Tailed Prairie Dog

Wild Horses


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Note that this guy is giving himself a good scratch on his pole.


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Notice the broken off “capstones” (sandstone) that used to sit on top of the clay and protect it from the elements.

Wind Canyon

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That was a big day which we ended with frozen dinners from Cash Wise.

Sunday, after church and lunch I worked on the blog while John watched sports, especially enjoying the Seahawks game. Monday we’ll travel to my dear high school friend’s home in Custer, SD.

Our prayers go out to the people of Florida, especially our good friends and relatives there, as they deal with Irma.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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