The summer before last, the younger kids & I headed about 500 miles west on the open road, to join Mitch & the older boys where they were doing some construction projects in the far northwest corner of North Dakota.
We enjoyed exploring the North Dakota prairie in all it's summer glory. I fell in love with the wide open, rolling space. I was enthralled with the abandoned homesteads & buildings, curiously aware of the lives that went into them.
A few years ago, we were choosing places on the U.S. map to travel to, and we had picked Utah. We were pretty enthused about what Utah had to offer. When I mentioned it to a friend of mine, she said she'd been there, and there is nothing. Nothing there.
That was a reminder to me that we all see things through different eyes. In ours' Utah was stunning. Varying. Still wild in places & extremely beautiful. It was one of the most spectacular places we've been.
Well, if Utah was nothing, I can't imagine what North Dakota is to a lot of people. Granted, we had to travel further getting from one thing to another. And it may look like a whole lot of the same at a glance. But there is so much there to look closer at.
During our two week stay we ventured off to Lewis & Clark State Park on the Missouri River one afternoon, and took a short drive north into Saskatchewan for groceries another. But the majority of our days were spent roaming the areas of Hamlet and Wild Rose, ND, which consist mainly of rolling farmland, gravel roads, cattail sloughs & wetland habitats. They are also being heavily descended upon by oil rigs.
This "Prairie Pothole Region"
is crucial breeding & migrating habitat for millions of North
American ducks & geese. It's the most important and threatened
waterfowl habitat in North America.
We saw more variety of waterfowl than ever before in my life, as well as pheasants, deer, jack rabbits, coyote & fox. We investigated abandoned homesteads, farmhouses, granaries, and barns. These buildings and their landscape speak of history. The wind does, too.
Here are just a handful of photos from our days exploring the "Prairie Pothole Region."
Native prairie cone flower.
I believe this is Foxtail Barley, a native prairie grass.
name means "one uses it to tickle the face." And the kids did.
Savior's Lutheran Church, out on a hill in a field. Built 1914 and now abandoned. Raccoons are taking over residence.
A further look at this prairie homestead can be seen HERE.
Mitch and the boys saw a moose out in that water one morning. Not the kind of habitat we are used to seeing moose in.
I loved visiting & learning more about this part of our country.