Today we drove the short distance to the northwest corner of the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to explore the petrified forest.
There are two areas of petrified wood. From the trailhead it is a 5 km out and back to either one. We chose the north forest.
The weather today was not too bad. There is absolutely no shade on this trail. There was enough light cloud and a good strong wind so we almost never felt like we were baking.
First you cross a grassy field to climb up the ridge in the distance.
We both got quite a scare as 5 pheasants flew up from the grass right beside us. We didn’t expect anything because someone was not that far ahead of us and the fowl waited until we were only a few feet from them to take to the skies.
Getting closer to the ridge and back to Badland type country instead of Grassland.
Jennie used the umbrella at first but then decided that the wind kept her cool enough.
A small cave off to the side.
Got to watch out for the holes.
Looking back towards the car.
Then we went across a large grassy plain. You can barely see some black dots of the two groups ahead of us, heading towards the upper right.
The couple ahead of us are on the horizon.
I love these wide open spaces with dramatic skies.
Where that couple was, you climb down a ridge and the petrified wood is in that huge white area below us.
The whole curved white area is covered in the petrified stumps.
Down we go.
We started at the area closest to the ridge and worked our way around.
Out in the flat muddy area we saw this colourful caterpillar. It didn’t look dead but I was no idea how it would get out there.
It was strange to pick up something that looked like wood and have it weight 3 or 4 times too much.
We crossed a narrow mud bridge to get by this deep eroded valley.
If there is a high spot I will climb it.
Lots of interesting shapes as well as the wood.
Even some cannonballs.
Something else to climb.
Afterwards I looked and it didn’t seem as securely attached as I thought.
The farthest area had the biggest pieces of what used to be wood.
That’s not me (yet).
Once again I couldn’t stop taking picture and can’t stop posting a lot of them.
It took us a while to realize that these were petrified logs.
We decided that we had wandered around and seen enough so we headed back.
To the west of us we could see that it was raining in several spots. The wind was also coming from the west but the dark clouds looked far enough away to not be a problem.
Just as we were about to climb the short but steep ridge, we got a clear spot of direct sun above us. Since we were also shielded from the wind it made for the only part of the day that was really hot.
Back over the grassy plain. Love looking at those skies.
And down to the car.
We stopped in “downtown” Medora to quickly check out a few shops before heading back to the RV.
Thankfully the wind was strong enough that we can survive with out running the generator. I hate using it because it is so loud. The campsites around us are filling up with tenters and it would really bother them.
And so today, sadly, ends this year’s adventure out west. It will be a 3 day drive back to Ontario and our cottage where we will be spending the rest of the summer.
It also just happens to be our 37th wedding anniversary. We had leftovers from our dinner out yesterday. Very romantic.
I hope you enjoyed following along.