Ugh - we've been awful at blogging. Sorry! We've been working very hard, and I finally got a moment to write something up, so I figured I'd answer the question that is on so many minds...
Why did we come here to North Dakota, anyway? I mean, besides the obvious draw of the great history of Theodore Roosevelt’s pre-presidency adventures here.
There were, of course, many things that did draw us here. The scenery is gorgeous:
And, as I was informed by a colleague who tried to sell us on the area, there are bison.
There are bison everywhere, as it happens. We have lots in the park - so many that they will have to do a round up this fall to pull some out of the herd. There are bison on the road…
….and around the visitor center…
…and in the campgrounds…
….and on the trails…
Notice that the bison in the picture above is scratching his belly on a trail post. They do that a lot, which makes it challenging to mark the trails, because they tend to rub signage off:
Jeff is drawn by the birds, and I’m drawn by the geology:
Our park has a particularly fun area - the petrified forest:
The area used to be covered in Everglades-like sloughs and cypress swamps, but would get occasionally covered in ash (most notably from eruptions of the Yellowstone caldera), which left us with lots of petrified trees and fossils. Not too many hours south is a totally different geologic wonder, the Black Hills, where I got to play with huge amounts of mica for the first time in my life.
Hey, man, whatever floats your boat.
We do get out some on our weekends. We’re close enough to the Black Hills, Bismarck and Knife River Indian Villages, Devils Tower, and quite a few pretty awesome state parks in Montana:
But, of course, we are working our tushies off.
Jeff in particular is working on getting public awareness of the impacts of fracking (hydraulic fracturing, a technique for oil drilling) on the park.
But we do plenty of playing, too. We’re in a very close communal living situation - it’s hard to find non-government housing in the area because of the oil boom and its huge pressure on local communities - so we have quite a few parties. Nicaraguan style tortilla making comes to North Dakota!
We’re already about in the middle of the season here, which is wild - we’re just getting comfortable with our programs! But we found out that we will be returning to the Everglades for another winter of environmental education, so we may have more time for blogging (and sewing, and playing music, and beading, and photography, and fishing, and kayaking, and hiking, and…) this time since we won’t be starting from scratch on our jobs. We will likely have a two-bedroom apartment there again, so if anyone is looking for an Everglades vacation this winter, give us a buzz!