July 7 - Roosevelt Park North Unit

Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today we left the South Unit of the park and went up to the smaller and less visited North Unit.  However, before we made 8am reservations to ride horses through the Badlands.   The girls had all been very excited and looking forward to this.  We had the option of doing this activity inside the park, or just outside the park with the city of Medora.  I chose the outside option because they had a 1 hour ride, which was the shortest.  Since I was not sure how much they would all like this, I opted for the shortest ride.  Ultimately they all had a great time.  Our guide had 9 people and we took a very easy walk through over the hills.  We did not see anything that we had not already seen, but riding the horses was excitement enough for the girls.

We then departed for the North Unit which was about 60 miles away.  The amazing thing about the drive was that soon after we left the South Unit, the landscape immediately from Badlands to flat farm/ranch land, and then when we were a couple miles from the North Unit it immediately changed back to Badlands.

The North Unit of the park consists of a 13 mile drive along the Missouri River and the major formations, and then you return on the same road. We stayed for 1 night at the campground in the park, which is located at about the mid-way point.  At about the second mile we came upon a pack of Buffalo walking right along the road, which was pretty exciting. We basically had to stop and let them pass us since the road was completely blocked.  They all moved quite slow, and there were even small calves that were trying to nurse as they walked.

Although the North Unit is smaller, the hills are more dramatic because they were formed mainly around 1 larger river (the Missouri) rather than multiple smaller branches in the South Unit.  However, the scenery for the most part looks quite similar to what we had seen for the past several days.  The one animal that is present in the North that is not in the South Unit is the Big Horned Sheep.   There are only 35, and they blend into the environment quite well.  Either they were not out, or we missed them, because we did not see any.

We ended the day with an 8pm ranger talk in the campground about the history of the Longhorn Steer.  The girls found this quite boring since it covered much about the history and talked about the late 1800's when Roosevelt was a rancher here.  However,  they did ask an number of good questions.

By the time we got back and got everyone to sleep it was 11pm
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