Far West Fishing Access was so lovely that I decided I’d stay another night. That lasted until I took Z for a short walk and, upon our return to the van, found three ticks crawling on her. Yeah, no. No point in staying at a campsite where I’m completely unwilling to go outside. Instead, I packed up the van and headed out.

I’d been considering staying at a state park in eastern Montana, to support my vague goal of camping at a state park in every state, but another nonsensical achievement was beckoning: North Dakota, state #49 on my personal list of states visited.

I doubt anyone from North Dakota is reading my blog, so I will admit the truth: I had very low expectations of the state. I’ve never read or seen anything to make me think North Dakota is my kind of place, so I was driving through it pretty much to make that checkmark on my list. North Dakota, done.

North Dakota, beautiful? So unexpected! But I spent my first night in North Dakota at a camping spot outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I don’t think these pictures convey the beauty but the first one captures the solitude pretty well, and the second one is at least a glimpse of what it looked like.

tiny van surrounded by grasslands
Serenity, alone in the grasslands.
The grasslands and hills.

I spent a quiet night there, windows open, admiring the stars, but I knew I didn’t want to stay more than a night. The weather report, untrustworthy as it sometimes is, was saying temperatures into the high 80s, and with the van sitting in the direct sun, that would quickly become unbearable. So early on Thursday, we headed off to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

prairie dog, sitting up, looking alert
Wildlife sighting!
An adult prairie dog with two babies by her side.
Not quite as cute as a baby bison, but fun to watch.

I would have liked to take the scenic drive all the way around the park, but part of the road was closed. And it was too hot, even early in the day, to drag Z on any long walks. But we paused at the prairie dog town and watched the prairie dogs for a while, and strolled out to a scenic overlook and admired the view. And then we got back on the road and I made my way to an Army Corps of Engineers campground where I’ll stay through the weekend.

A heron by the side of a muddy stream
One last picture from Far West, which I would remember wistfully if I hadn’t found another dead tick in my bed this morning.