A lazy colt peering over the grass was a happy find on a sunny afternoon.  Many of the fans of the wild horses at the park are excitedly surveying the bands looking for, counting and naming the new crop of colts.  There were two colts in the little band we photographed.

Sunny afternoons are for naps

It’s not winter, nor spring. It’s whatever you call the season between the two. The afternoon sun was warm for the wildlife at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, warm enough for the wild horses and the bison to take a nap.  This is one of the best times of the year to get your hiking legs warmed up, burn off some of the winter fat, and enjoy the encounters with wildlife.

horses on a hill

A band of wild horses and their colts on a hill at the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National park.

We spotted a couple of bands of wild horses on our last venture through the park.  Particularly photogenic was a band at milepost #4.  We parked at the edge of the roadway and went down a little creek embankment to keep a hill between us and the herd so we would minimize their discomfort as we approached.  We hiked around a hill between them and us, to get to the base of their hill.  They were in no hurry to leave. When they showed a defensive posture, turning their hind ends to us, we left.  It reminded me of all the times with our horses when we could tell they were not happy to see us, even with an oat bucket. They’d turn away until the yearning for the oats would bring them up to us so we could harness them.

Bison at rest

Several places in the park, we drove past sleeping herds of bison. It seems to the general public that the bison are really the “stars” of the park.

We didn’t spot any calves.  Maybe next time.

This particular herd was at the furthest end of the loop, close to milepost 28.  They didn’t pay much attention to us, posing, as it were, to have a peaceful portrait.  But as we have experienced, they pretty much ignore us if we stay away from them — even when they go strolling through our campsite.

Herds of deer were also scattered about the park. 

bison napping

Quiet and lazy, this small collection of bison didn’t move much as we went by.

Good time to hike

We didn’t nap. We extended a marked trail, Boicourt (BI-court) trail with plans to come back to penetrate the interior of the park next time.  Coming up, we’ll give you tips on how you can use this cool hiking weather and warm sun to explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

These days are good for capturing stunning images of the Badlands.  It’s not yet tourist season, so you’ll pretty much have the Park to yourself to find colts, wild horses, bison, bison calves, deer and their fawns.

Beauty from the Heart of the Badlands, A Photographic Exhibit

Beauty from the Heart of the Badlands, A Photographic Exhibit, from the heart. February 23 through Spring at the Long X Trading Post and Visitor Center, Watford City, North Dakota www.BeautifulBadlandsND.com