Dark gloomy beauty

It’s the kind of weather that discourages people from a sightseeing afternoon in the Badlands.  That’s why people miss the personality of this dark, wet beauty.  Under dark clouds, the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park displays a personality that few see.

slow muddy Little Missouri River.

Muddy hills and ridges, green river bottom, and the slow muddy Little Missouri River.

We drove to the north (or west end)  of the Achenbach Trail, parked the jeep and braved the mud created by several days of rain. From a ridge near the Riverbend Overlook, with the Little Missouri River below us, the dark personality of this rugged land seizes our attention

It was cold this Saturday under the dark clouds of rain.  So we smartly brought along our winter jackets.  We didn’t have to rush. Staying warm gave us the protection we needed so we didn’t have to race back to the jeep shivering and uncomfortable.  We could take our time to seek out the rises, the ridges and the scenes that describe the beautiful Badlands.

Yes, it was muddy, which meant staying off the slick trails, walking in the grass and on the rocks.  Still, before we got back in the Jeep, we spent some time stomping the mud off our boots. We found a guard rail along the road where we could scrape off the worst of it on the edge of the steel rail.  A rain puddle nearby on the pavement was just deep enough we could stomp our feet in the puddle to wash off more of the Badlands clay. 

By no means were we the only people who immersed themselves in the Park. We assume people were huddled in those tents and the RVs in the campground of the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. As far as we could see, we were the only ones picking our way across the muddy slippery trails. Even the Longhorns were hiding, which was a bit disappointing. They’re our favorite actors.

Have you?

Have you driven or hiked either the North or South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park?  What was the feeling you came away with? 

Stick around.  Subscribe to see what else you will want to see in the Beautiful Badlands — such as the rendezvous of mountain men and voyageurs at Fort Union. That story is coming.  So is the history of the nearby Fort Buford. Why two forts so close to each other?

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