Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Other Roosevelt N.P. (South)

 Location: Patterson Lake Recreation Area (Bureau of Reclamation Campground); Dickinson, North Dakota

As I'm making this post, I have two ceramic heaters trying to take the chill out of Liberty. The temperature dropped down to 48 last night.

When I was planning this trip, I could not decide which campground to stay at while exploring the National Park. I finally decided on this one although I had to wait a couple days to get a 50 amp site. I didn't realize it was a Bureau of Reclamation campground until I arrived. Before that, I thought it was a city park. I guess I was half right. Come to find out, the Bureau owns it, but the city manages it. I think so. Well, I'm about 75% confident that I'm right about that. Anyway, it's been a good one, quiet and secure. Half price with my Senior Pass makes the rate $14.00 per night with electric and water. It is close enough to the park to make for a short drive but near enough to a decent sized city (Dickinson). As usual, I go by the vibes I get about things and Dickinson is a "good vibe" city as opposed to Bismarck which was a "bad vibe" city. I've said it before but haven't done it yet, I need to post a list of the "good/bad vibe" cities and states. Oh well, maybe add it to the list of things I need to do when I get back to Louisiana. 

I mentioned in the last post that the National Park is divided into three areas with two of them being the main ones. The last post was about the Northern One and this post is about the Southern One. If I was to recommend one over the other, it would be the North one is better than the South one. The entrance to the South unit is in the tourist trap city of Medora, North Dakota. Here's a tip on how to tell if you're in a tourist trap city. If there are shops selling fudge and tee shirts, then you're in a tourist trap. I'm not knocking them, I'm just saying. I looked at a campground in Medora and am glad I decided against staying there.

The National Park is also called the North Dakota Badlands which is not to be confused with The Badlands National Park in South Dakota. There are also parts of Montana that are considered Badlands. The general explanation on how they were all formed is "erosion". That means wind, water, freezing, thawing, snow, ice etc. combined with a very long time in erodible soil gives you Badlands. There are deposits of lignite coal scattered around the park which means it was underwater at some time in the past. To make things easier until we can all take a geology course, let's just lump it all together and call it erosion. Don't get me started on why some of these hills/mountains are flat topped like mesas and buttes in the southwest. I'm still wondering about how erosion makes them flat-topped. Some people claim ancient aliens cut them off to get whatever good stuff was to be mined. Who knows. I haven't heard a real good explanation yet. It will remain a mystery. Just like the mystery of where to find the perfect Reuban Sandwich and Cinnamon Roll. (still looking)

This is the landscape about 15 miles or so from the National Park. It is strange how it will change so quickly. The brownish area on the left is a hay field. There are thousands on them in North Dakota. 

This is at the Painted Canyon visitor center. Big change from the first picture, uh? The temperature was in the low 60's with a strong wind blowing. It was cold. 

This is also from the visitor's center

The entire park isn't all Badlands. I guess you could call these areas Pre-Badlands. 

See those flat-top hills/mountains,,,,see, see. 

The place is lots of scrub brush but the green area is mostly Cottonwood trees growing along the banks of the Little Missouri River. Pssst,,,,see the shape of the hills?

I liked this picture because of the tree and RV. It just spoke to me. Yeah, yeah I know I'm getting a little goofier the longer this trip lasts. 

These are a couple of the wild horses that roam around the park. I'm not sure about the name of the colors for horses but I'm guessing Buckskin and Steel. The picture doesn't do justice to what they looked like in real life.

Tomorrow is moving day and I will headed to a very small Corps of Engineers Campground on the Missouri River near Linton, North Dakota. I'll only be there for two day to catch my breath after exploring the National Park. Nothing super special to explore around there, but chances are I'll stumble onto something. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   


  1. I would call those horses red roan and blue roan. At least in this part of Texas that would work. ;) PS love your blog posts. Thank you for the photos and good commentary.

  2. Thanks for the information about the horses. I was hoping someone would say what they were. The blue one sure was pretty in real life. I'm glad you still like the blog. I remember you've commented several times over the years. Take care.