Last year, I decided that I wanted to do a road trip with my dad. I haven’t purposely gone on a road trip with him since I was a kid. I figured that my trip to North Dakota would be the perfect time to take that father/daughter trip and document it for the blog. Then the houseful of littles decided they wanted to join us, and it became a multi generational trip. The purpose of the trip was to ultimately get to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and get his first National Park under his belt. Theodore Roosevelt National Park lies in western North Dakota, Medora to be exact, where the Great Plains meet the rugged Badlands. A habitat for bison, elk and prairie dogs, the sprawling park has 3 sections linked by the Little Missouri River. The park is known for the South Unit’s colorful Painted Canyon and the Maltese Cross Cabin, where President Roosevelt once lived. The Scenic Loop Drive winds past several overlooks and trails.
We did that and more. We actually toured the entire state (literally driving the square of it) in one week. It was magnificent and started the #TrippingWithMyDad movement. The last time we did a road trip of this magnitude, I was in fourth grade (I think) didn’t have a cell phone, and definitely couldn’t share our shenanigans on social.
Anyway, like I said, the purpose was to go to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and we did. In case you’re trying to figure out where my dad is, he was busy in the car giving me photo shooting direction. My love of travel isn’t the only thing I get from my father. He was a shutterbug too. Our remember the days of Minolta and Olympus cameras.
I chose to use the day that we had at Theodore Roosevelt National Park as a homeschooling day, and just a nature day in general. I mean, when you’re met with the scenes, and opportunities that they park provides, you really can’t help it. Upon coming into the park entrance, you’re met with the cabin of Theodore Roosevelt, and it’s such a quaint space. I always marvel how tough ANYONE who lived back then was. The rooms were simple, and the furniture in it was the same. Roosevelt even had a pair of house shoes neatly placed beside his bed.
The kids REALLY loved the park because they saw so many of the animals that they’ve seen on Wild Kratts! They loved being able to tell their Poppy (that’s my dad if you haven’t figured yet) all about each of the animals we encountered. Their favorites were the prairie dogs and the “Yips” they let out in alert to oncoming cars or predators. There were so many of those prairie dogs, and they were so many different variants in colors that I was impressed.
Their favorites by far were the bison that we saw. It took us a bit of time to find a herd of them. Through the winding roads of the park, we would always see one lone bison, casually grazing, and then BAM! We drove up on a large herd with a couple of calves intermingled. They are beasts of a magnificent size, and I’m pretty certain that they could have overturned the car that we were in. We stayed a safe distance away while carefully attempting to take photos. Unfortunately, my zoom lens decided to hate me, so we got wider angles than I was wanting.
There were a couple of plateaus that we stopped on so that we could really take in the vastness of the park. I mean, there was land for days, and a part of me is happy that I could be the kid that went with my dad to his first national park. We have several more on our list.
Being out in nature was amazing. It was therapeutic. It was spiritual in a way. It was also cold! You’ll remember that we were there in November, and at the brink of a HUGE snowstorm that came into that area. So, if that’s your thing, go for it. If not, you can definitely head that way during the warmer months to see more green, and more active animals, which we plan on doing this year. So, YAY for another trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and for GREEN pastures and all of that jazz!
Have you visited a national park before? If so, let me know which one, and tell me why you loved it!