A Hidden Gem

After leaving Twin Falls, Idaho, our plan had been to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, then head east to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming (featured in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) and nearby Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, before heading north into Manitoba.

Interstate 94 took us past Home On The Range, North Dakota – presumably where the deer and antelope play, and never is heard a discouraging word. You can tell by the pic that the skies are not cloudy all day. lol.

But due to unexpected delays in Idaho, we decided to head north and east on Interstate 94 through Montana, leaving the national parks for a future visit.

The rugged terrain of southwestern North Dakota

Our old friend, Norm Cartier, who Betty went to Sunday School with, and I shared a house with in Toronto, has been recuperating from a stroke in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan. So after crossing from Montana into western North Dakota, we decided to head due north for a brief visit.

Into North Dakota’s version of the Badlands.

We were also aware that spring flooding had closed portions of the main highway from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Winnipeg, so avoiding that route was considered wise.

Rugged beauty on the roadsides leading to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Lots of picturesque countryside in southwestern North Dakota.
Interesting rock formations everywhere.

With our capacity to boondock, we generally have been avoiding formal campgrounds. But checking the map, we saw we would be passing through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and there appeared to be two nice campgrounds in the park.

A buffalo welcomed us as we entered the park.

Even though Betty & I have travelled through Grand Forks and Fargo on the eastern edge of North Dakota many times, we had never ventured further west of Minot, the location of a Family Motor Coach Association rally a few years ago.

Another striated rock formation at the entrance to Juniper Campground.

As we approached Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the terrain became more barren and rugged, similar to the Badlands of South Dakota.

Here’s a very bold boulder, reaching out for the sun.

We were amazed by the seemingly hidden beauty of this park, and enjoyed a very quiet night in Site 44 of Juniper Campground ($7./night for Seniors with our America The Beautiful pass).

After staying in a couple of noisy roadside rest areas, Betty & I were amazed by how quiet it was in the park. A buffalo walked through the woods near our campsite while there, but the trees prevented a clear shot (with the camera, of course).
Wild buffalo took there time crossing the road as we began to head out of the park. Small birds seemed to follow them wherever they went.
The scenic road from the highway to the campground is about 5 miles, with lots of wildlife along the way (and obviously a few bugs on our windshield at that point…)
Believe it or not – Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan has its own campground!

The tiny border crossing into Saskatchewan was uneventful, and we had a pleasant visit with Norm and his wife, Francis, before heading east again.

This was our last night on the road, between the arena and ball diamond in MacGregor, Manitoba.

One more night was spent beside the local arena in MacGregor, Manitoba, and we are now back at Town and Country RV Park in Winnipeg. It hasn’t stopped raining since our arrival, so we feel like we could be back on Vancouver Island, except without the elevations to shed the water.

We appear to be parked beside a stream and pond, but it’s actually the lane and campsite next to us at Town and Country in Winnipeg. Rain, rain, go away!

Discovering Theodore Roosevelt National Park this week was like finding a hidden gem. We hope that you also have opportunities to find unexpected joy in your travels through life.

As we approached Winnipeg, our old Boy’s dusty odometer finally crossed the 100,000 mile mark. Here’s hoping for many more to go!


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