2021 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Well, 2021 started out bleak, then got happier, then got sad again. This was thanks to the two V’s – variants and vaccinations. Too much of one, not enough of the other. But we survived (yet again), with The LovedOne remaining as elusively photogenic as ever. But, thanks to being vaccinated, we were able to have a few big adventures without expiring.


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Oak Leaf Loop (Sheyenne National Grassland) 28-Sep-2021

The Sheyenne National Grassland sits about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Fargo, North Dakota. It’s the only national grassland on the tallgrass prairie; The National Park Service manages another remnant of this prairie type in Kansas. Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres (68 million ha) of North America, but within a generation most of it had been transformed into farmland. Today less than 4% remains intact.

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Four Days in Fargo (September 2021)

It’s the early 1890s. A young man from Wisconsin steps off the train in Bismark, North Dakota to grow wheat on the 160 acres (65 ha) he’d obtained either from the federal government or the Northern Pacific Railway (now part of the BNSF Railway). The railroad, desirous of customers, had painted a pretty rosy picture of how easy it would be to grow crops on the Northern Plains. It wasn’t. It was a hard life. His family grew to seven children, but only four survived past infancy. The weather could be beyond harsh. But he hung on and perhaps even prospered – for a while.

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Jones Creek Trail (Theodore Roosevelt National Park) 15-Sep-2019

Our homage roadtrip to explore some of Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy finally brought us to where it all seems to have started – Medora, North Dakota and today’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Again we were graced with good weather for hiking, with some artistic clouds, mild breezes, and a cool (at least in the morning) air temperature. To call this area the “badlands” completely obscures the alluring beauty of its rolling terrain with its scattered trees already changing color as Fall nears, multi-colored grasses and shrubs, incised watercourses, and sweeping horizons. I felt a subliminal affinity for this land (but then we weren’t visiting in mid-winter either o_O ).

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