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Wild

October 14, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wild Horses

There’s something magical about nature in the wild.

Horses, majestic as they are, are not particularly exotic animals. We routinely see them on farms and in stables. But catching sight of a pair of mustangs, unbridled and unbroken – standing free on a wind-swept mountain – is an entirely different experience.

Can you hear me now?

October 12, 2011

Verizon Cell Phone Coverage

Yes, even atop Buck Hill in the heart of the North Dakota badlands, with no sign of civilization for miles in any direction, Shannon can in fact hear you. Our Verizon cell phones registered two bars at this remote location, demonstrating the increasing futility of trying to “get away from it all.”

Close Encounters of the Bison Kind

October 10, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Bison 2

A bestial growl, almost feline in nature, first caught our attention. Somewhere off in the distance, a cacophony of grunts and bellows followed. We listened for a short time before deciding a couple of things: the noise originated from within our campground; a large group of animals were responsible; we had no idea what kind; if we wanted to find out, we’d have to go investigate. Grabbing my camera we headed for the door.

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Wanderings on the Web

October 8, 2011
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Image courtesy of Pong

What do teleportation, the land mass of South America and Denver food trucks all have in common? They’re part of Wanderings’ first ever internet interview. We sat down with the good folks over at NationalRVParks.com to answer a few questions. If you’re curious how all those things fit together, you’ll have to click over to the interview to find out.

The Great Snow Drift

October 8, 2011
Great Sand Dunes National Park

Yesterday's view from our campground near Great Sand Dunes National Park

Resting in a valley, surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lies Great Sand Dunes National Park. We arrived here yesterday and were mesmerized by the scenery. The rolling dunes, framed by rugged snow-capped mountains, were like nothing we’ve ever seen. Shannon and I both felt like we stepped out of our car on to a different continent.

Although a brewing storm added dramatically to the atmosphere we were hoping for clear skies to improve visibility. This morning’s agenda included a 750 foot climb to the top of the dunes for a view of the park’s 330 square miles of rolling sand and, if we could procure a sandboard, surfing our way back down.

Mother Nature had different ideas. We awoke to find 4.5 inches of snow on the ground and near whiteout visibility; conditions more appropriate for staying in bed than for sightseeing. Maybe we should just trade the sandboard in for a sled.

Karma is indeed a boomerang. It’s only October 8 and we’re snowed in. I can’t help feeling this is payback for last year’s gloating.

The Great Sand Dunes Whiteout

This morning's view from our campground near Great Sand Dunes National Park

Theodore Roosevelt Delivers

October 7, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt National Park

After awhile we began to lose hope. Mile after mile, hour after hour, we drove past boringly similar landscapes: more hay bales here, another farm there – hey look, a cow! We started to believe the stunning western vistas we’ve seen photographed so frequently were nothing more than a hoax. We traveled clear across North Dakota, nearly to Montana, and . . . “Holy Shit!”

It happened just that fast. One moment we were considering the virtues of yet another grassy hill, the next we’re catching a flash of the rough and rugged landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our first glimpse of Painted Canyon elicited that exact exclamation from both of us.

One of the things that surprised us most is how green the park was. We had expected brown, arid plains but instead found brilliant shades of moss and sage that reminded us, if only slightly, of the Emerald Isle. Once again, we count ourselves fortunate. Rainfall at the park was four times above average. This lush foliage isn’t typical. It seems as if Teddy Roosevelt dressed up special for our arrival. We’re deeply honored.

Why?

October 5, 2011

Worlds Largest Buffalo, Jamestown, ND

The sign read “Welcome to Jamestown, ND, home of the World’s Largest Buffalo.” At 26 feet tall and 60 tons, the concrete buffalo statue is unquestionably big. But world’s largest? Certainly humanity possesses the engineering capability to build an even larger buffalo. I know the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai rises 2,717 feet in height. With all that’s at stake, I worried for a moment that civilization might be teetering on the precipice of a largest buffalo arms race; with town after town rushing to build ever larger bison for the purposes of, well, what exactly?

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