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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News

 

Is North Dakota scenic in winter?...

Posted 4/09/14 (Wed)

The following article is a personal column I wrote that appeared in the Cavalier County Republican in Langdon on Jan. 25, 1999.

The timing may be a little off since we’re into spring now but the U.S. Highway 85 corridor has changed a great deal since this article was written.

Five weeks later, an article written by Terry Froseth was reprinted in the Republican about oil exploration. It was the first time in 49 years there were zero oil rigs drilling in North Dakota.

I’ve never told many people in Langdon about this hobby I have of traveling around North Dakota and taking pictures – even during winter, it’s something I enjoy tremendously.

My latest excursion took me to the northwest where I witnessed a certain rugged, almost wilderness beauty that can be hard to describe but I will try.

As many of you know the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit is situated just to the south of Watford City. It’s incredibly breathtaking to drive along U.S. Highway 85 and see the beauty that exists there as you look toward the west.

This is home to some of the most rugged terrain in North Dakota and the Department of Transportation has so strategically located placed points of lookout along the route where you can feel compelled to stop your vehicle, get out and take a picture.

Of course I wanted to take it a step further by grabbing my camera, plenty of film and go hiking through, or better yet, hop on one of the many horses grazing and discover Roosevelt Park.

One thing about this park is certain during the winter, you don’t have to worry about rattlesnakes.

Making a stop in the McKenzie County seat and getting refreshed after getting a close look at the park, some people thought I was nuts when I told them I was vacationing in northwestern North Dakota during the middle of January.

But there are things to see in the northwest that residents take for granted.

For instance, I was driving north near Grassy Butte, I ran across a herd of pronghorn antelope grazing alongside the road. Boom, a perfect photo opportunity.

As I got closer to Watford City, I noticed the snow and the evergreens in the bluffs with horses grazing casually during a mild winter day.

Then, there’s the bridge that crosses the Little Missouri River. What a beautiful spot to just stop and ponder.

It’s hard to believe that 130 years ago, this area often saw skirmishes between Indian tribes and Union Soldiers.

Now, it’s so peaceful, I don’t think the tranquility can be matched at any price.

A lot of young people keep saying they can’t wait to get out of North Dakota because there’s nothing here.

Take my word for it – North Dakota is a big state and there is lots to see. I’ve traveled it. It’s a big state. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The natural beauty of North Dakota is endless.