August 24, 2018 The noise from the highway was crazy loud, so sleep stunk. I got up tired and feeling cranky, although I’d definitely camp there again, if in a hardshell camper. The morning was beautiful and the dew heavy. I knew it would take a while to dry tent gear, so made coffee, repacked truck and took a wonderful walk (searched for lost tip, but no luck).
From the Buffalo Gap Campground, Teddy Roosevelt National Park was less than 25 minutes east and the highway views were incredible. I took the South Unit entrance in Medora and proudly showed my NP Pass, which had already more than paid for itself. The Visitor Center and other areas in the park were under construction, but the time spent waiting was minimal; good park management.
Spent hours driving the Scenic Loop and doing several hikes, from easy to difficult; loved every moment! I wished many times I’d taken a better camera. The rock formation colors were spectacular with red, orange, blue, brown and gold. There were bison everywhere, biguns and babes. Fantastic!
The feral horses looked healthy, happy and gorgeous. Interestingly, they’re not protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, but they are managed by existing park regulations. Apparently, the National Park Service tried for years to remove them from the park, but policy changed in 1970 (yea!) and they’re considered part of the historical setting.
Past Prairie Dog Town (haha) where I saw lots of those cuties, I went to Peaceful Valley Ranch and walked all around the property; so much history and beautiful horses.
Before getting in my truck, I checked out the sun! The couple hosting the event explained the colors and activity (bursts and green energy glow) I saw around the sun through their serious, hi-tech telescopes. Definitely an educational and cool experience.
It was time to land a campsite; the day was moving fast. Drove into the Cottonwood Campground South Unit and spoke with the hosts. I wanted the primitive tent site in the open field, but out of the hundreds of acres available to them, so did the bison. WTF?! They moved in and plopped their beautiful, beasty bods for a long-ass siesta.
There were only a few other sites available and I grabbed #20! For $14, it was private, not too far to the toilet and fantastic views. As I was setting up camp, bison moved in to visit and I climbed on my truck. REALLY?! Every spot was theres. They went all through the camp.
When they moved away enough (ha), pulled out gear to cook dinner. Used the rest of the mushrooms with onion, turkey bacon, jalapeños and mozzarella. I was out of ice, so got cool water from spigot; I was craving a Coke!
Took a great, relaxing walk around the park, dodging bison. I hoped not to encounter them when I had to pee in middle of the night, or get trampled in my tent. Funny! Same thoughts about bears along the Selway in Idaho. Haha!
Incredible day and sunset. Made a (dumbass) decision to test sleeping on just the mat with plenty of blankets. Heavy moisture moved in, so put on the rainfly. I missed my family, including Cody Boy of course. Updated journal and shut down for the night.