The past year was one we filled with intense explorations to seek beauty and peace in a world which at many times seemed the opposite. The result of those adventures was reassuring! Conclusion drawn: There is, indeed, beauty in our surroundings, and peace to be found all around us. If we seek it, we will find it. We found it in the Beautiful Badlands.
The following photos are among my favorites of those I shot in 2020. Enjoy! Mary
A long spell of hot, dry weather was abruptly ended when this intense storm system formed over the badlands in western North Dakota. The bison of Theodore Roosevelt National Park seemed minuscule laying in the green prairie grasses.
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A midsummer drive on gravel roads which wind through the North Dakota Badlands brought us into fresh territory. We were enamored by the extensive expanse of pine trees we discovered south of Bullion Butte, southwest of Medora. The area had a character about it much different than other places where we had spent time.
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When we reached the crest of a hill in this distinctively beautiful area of the North Dakota Badlands, we couldn’t help but smile at the living road block ahead. What a serene and peaceful sight to see these horses in such an inviting summer green setting. We drove very slowly to them, and it seemed none of them even shifted their position. They merely glanced at us as we carefully drove around them. It might be our imagination, but it seemed that more than one of these beauties nodded as we passed. Another great drive through the Beautiful Badlands of North Dakota !
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A summer drive on the gravel backroads of western North Dakota, deep in the rugged badlands, skirted the winding Little Missouri River. A short hike brought us to this view of the historic little river. Dreamy! The stillness was hypnotic. The hike was superb!
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Our exploration of Old Highway 16, once a major road connecting Marmarth and Beach in far western North Dakota, revealed many enthralling scenic vistas. When we stopped near Pretty Butte for a hike and a picnic, we discovered this small area which seemed drastically distinctive against the prairie grasslands. Other worldly? Perhaps!
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Our goal on this beautiful summer day was to explore the western portion of the Custer Auto Trail. It traces the route of General George Armstrong Custer, his troops, and a large entourage as they made their historic and fateful last march to the Little Big Horn in 1876. Earlier in the day we found Custer’s infamous Snow Camp on the north side of Square Butte. Then we followed gravel roads around the south and west sides of the prominent butte, and headed to Sentinel Butte. The intense yellow of the clover popped against the bright blue summer skies!
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Some say the devil did pass over this trail. Others aren’t so sure, but hold this passageway with deep respect. Devils Pass was built years ago by hand to accommodate horse drawn wagons, and later motorized vehicles. Erosion has turned the road into a trail, now part of the extensive Maah Daah Hey Trail system. It’s a narrow passage with drop offs of nearly 200 feet on either side. The views of the badlands from atop Devils Pass are astounding!
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Crisp fall days in the Badlands of North Dakota are a favorite for us. Hiking is easy, the air is fresh, and the colors are spectacular! Brilliant yellowing cottonwood trees contrast with the ever green cedars, and the Little Missouri River runs low and slow as it meanders towards the Missouri River, not far east of this area in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
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As the sun sank lower towards the horizon on an early fall day, this bison almost took on a golden glow. A brilliant golden hour lit up the western edges of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our drive to Oxbow Overlook was peaceful, serene, and surprising! We found bison slowly lumbering along side our vehicle as we crept along. We observed big horn sheep on the hillside next to us where they mingled with the bison in quiet peace.
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Bright blue summer skies accentuate this US Flag which is prominently displayed at the visitor center of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The park is located on US Highway 85, south of Watford City.
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