On Friday, I left the Hankinson Hills area and headed West. I ended up getting a hotel room for 2 nights, giving me one full day to explore and enjoy Theodore Roosevelt National Park. What a wonderful place! Unfortunately, I was ready to say goodbye to North Dakota for this year, so I continued onward today, entering Montana.
Hankinson Hills was a wonderful spot. I was almost tempted to stay longer, but after hiking on the trails there, I kept finding ticks. It became unreasonable to stay, so I decided to set out. I quickly decided to start heading into the area of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, with a few different options in mind.
As I approached the area, however, I stopped to look at the weather and saw some pretty nasty weather coming. My initial reaction was to head towards the National Park campgrounds, hoping to at least not be stuck out there alone in the nasty weather. However, as I continued thinking about the ticks as well, the sound of a shower and properly washing all of my clothes took over. I popped open my phone and found a hotel room for two nights. This would also give me the entire day to explore the park, even getting in at night had I wanted to (I didn’t, ultimately).
Shower had and clothes washed, I did spend the vast majority of the day at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I started in the South Unit, driving and doing just a little bit of short hiking on some of the shorter trails in the park. What a wonderful place!
From there, I headed up the long, confusing set of dirt roads that led to the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. This is where Theodore Roosevelt himself set up a ranch while in mourning from the deaths of his wife and mother (both in the same day!). I had the entire unit to myself while I was there, and I found myself imagining how great it must have been for Roosevelt to have this spot during such a time in his life. I can understand how this ultimately inspired him to push the creation of the system of National Parks, Forests, Grasslands, etc. in this country. It was absolutely breathtaking to be there alone!
From there, I hopped back onto the pavement and drove up to the North Unit. I was really amazed at how much larger the formations were in the North Unit of the park. I spent less time there, only because there was less road to explore and less small trails to travel by foot. I was still instilled with awe as I stared over the landscape and observed the bison wandering upon it.
Finished seeing TRNP, I finished my second night in the hotel, watching the Back to the Future trilogy on TV. I fell asleep right as the third move started, though! I’ll have to get on and watch the whole trilogy on my own time one of these days.
This morning, I packed my car back up from the hotel room and hit the road, West into Montana. I’ve never been in Montana before, so I had no idea what to expect. First crossing the border, my hopes weren’t very high as the view was pretty boring. Driving all of the way to Columbus, MT, however, I was awe stricken with the views. I may not have stopped to get pictures, but I thoroughly enjoyed it the entire way!
I finally pulled into camp at Itch-Kep-Pe Park in the afternoon and set up, enjoying the fairly decent, although kind of busy city park.