On May 15th, 2019, we drove to the Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park, 35 miles north of the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a beautiful RV park located on the Yellowstone River and our site was on the banks of the river. Every morning driving to Yellowstone we would stop at the Wild Flour Bakery & Cafe in Emigrant, in the heart of Paradise Valley, for a delicious breakfast of Prebird Scramble or Hipster Toasts. On our first day into the Park we stopped at the Roosevelt Arch, a “rusticated triumphal arch” at the north entrance; to take photos of this magnificent stone archway without crowds of people. Construction of the arch began on February 19, 1903, and was completed on August 15, 1903, as President Theodore Roosevelt laid down the cornerstone. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote which reads:
“For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” Continue reading
On May 9th we decided to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park, comprising of three geographically separated areas of Badlands in western North Dakota, and check off another National Park on our map. It was a three hour drive from the Elkhorn RV Park in Spearfish, where we were staying, but we won’t get this close again. The Park, established in 1978, has a South Unit and a smaller North Unit about 80 miles north, we just visited the South Unit near Medora, North Dakota. We stopped at the Visitor Center on I-94 West, where we first got a glimpse of the amazing Painted Canyon and the Badlands. Roosevelt first came to the North Dakota badlands to hunt bison in 1883 and he fell in love with the “perfect freedom” of the West. At his request, ranch managers built a 1 1/2-story cabin complete with a shingled roof and root cellar, the Maltese Cross Cabin, where he lived from 1883-1884 before he was President, later he built the Elkhorn Ranch (we did not have time to visit it) 35 miles north of Medora. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the nation’s 26th President and one of its greatest conservationists.
“I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
The Devils Tower National Monument was our next adventure, only one hour drive from the Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort in Spearfish, SD. The Devils Tower also known as Bear Lodge Butte, by the Native Americans, located in the Black Hills of Wyoming. It rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, and stands 867 feet from summit to base, the summit is 5,112 feet above sea level. Quite an impressive monolith. Devils Tower was the first US national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 by Colonel Richard Dodge, and the Native American names include “Bear’s House” or Bear’s Lodge”,”Tree Rock”, “Aloft on a Rock” and some others. There are many theories as to how Devils Tower was formed, the latest theory suggested that it is a volcanic plug, or the neck of an extinct volcano. The first known ascent of Devils Tower occurred on July 4, 1893, by William Rogers and Willard Ripley. They built a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face, a few of these pegs are still intact and are visible from the Tower Trail. We hiked along the 1.3 mile trail discovering the many shades of the rock columns, and watching the climbers ascending the rock. The Tower is sacred to several Plains tribes, and therefore the climbers agreed not to climb during the month of June when the tribes are conducting ceremonies around the monument. It was a beautiful day exploring Devils Tower and the land around it. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
On our way to South Dakota from Colorado our GPS in the RV took us on a dirt road for 16 miles, where we did not see another vehicle, and don’t know why it took us this route. It was terrible for both the RV and the Jeep’s hood were blasted with rocks. Finally we arrived at the KOA in Hot Springs, thankful to be there after the worst drive ever!! Hot Springs does have warm springs which were considered sacred by the Native Americans. The city of Hot Springs developed in the 1880s as a resort community, with visitors drawn to the restorative and curative properties of its mineral springs. One can visit the hot springs today at the Evans Plunge built in 1890, with its naturally warm 87 degree spring water. We walked through the historic city center taking many photos of the beautiful wall murals and many unique sandstone buildings. Hot Springs is also home of a US Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011 for its architecture and history. We walked up the hill to view the hospital, formerly known as the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, the 100-bed center was built in 1907 to treat former soldiers suffering from rheumatism or tuberculosis, believed to be treatable by the region’s mineral springs and the thin dry air. Continue reading