Exploring North Dakota; across Plains, Badlands, Find History, Beauty

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Exploring North Dakota; across Plains, Badlands, Find History, Beauty


Byline: Fred J. Eckert, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It's not normally one of the first places that come to mind when one conjures up an image of an interesting travel destination.

North Dakota?

Why?

Forget that funny business about humorist Dave Barry poking fun at some foolish folks who were pushing the idea of changing the state's name to Dakota, as if doing so would somehow make potential tourists less likely to figure out that the state is located far up north, just under Canada, where, of course, during much of the year the weather is very cold.

The surprising truth is that North Dakota is an unexpectedly interesting travel destination. It has some great scenery, lots of history and plenty of fun things to see and do.

A good place to begin discovering what's so nice about North Dakota is where I did, in Medora, a nearly picture-perfect tiny town in the southwestern part of the state that has the look and feel of the Old West.

During the drive to Medora from the East, I was favorably impressed while seeing some truly beautiful color and light scenes of tall, bright, yellow prairie grass against the glow of a late-afternoon sun. Then about seven miles outside of town on my right, Painted Canyon suddenly appeared, throwing off a kaleidoscope of colors. I instantly realized why so many people consider the badlands such a beautiful area.

It was just outside Medora that a future great American president used to ranch; he credited his North Dakota experience with changing him from a sickly, weak young man into a hardy person and strong leader. He even said that were it not for his North Dakota days, he never would have become president of the United States.

The Medora area loves him as much as he loved it, and today many things in and around the town are dedicated to the memory of Theodore Roosevelt.

One is the ruggedly scenic 110-square-mile Theodore Roosevelt National Park, whose South Unit entrance is at Medora. Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin, the original cabin from the first ranch he owned in North Dakota, is just behind the visitors center and is open for tours. However, the real highlight of this section of the park is driving the 36-mile paved scenic loop, where you are certain to see prairie-dog colonies up close and hear them chatter, will likely see some buffalo and antelope and maybe see wild horses and elk.

During the day, the shale and sandstone cliffs of the badlands have a haunting beauty. Teddy Roosevelt called it "a desolate, grim beauty."

"And then," as John Steinbeck put it so well in "Travels With Charley," "the late afternoon changed everything. As the sun angled, the buttes and coulees, the cliffs and sculptured hills and ravines lost their burned and dreadful look and glowed with yellow and rich browns and a hundred variations of red and silver gray, all picked out by streaks of coal black. It was so beautiful that I stopped near a thicket of dwarfed and wind-warped cedars and junipers, and once stopped I was caught, trapped in color and dazzled by the clarity of the light. I can easily see how people are driven back to the Bad Lands."

I thought of that Steinbeck passage one evening as I sat at an outdoor picnic table dining on a Western steak at the Pitchfork Fondue while looking out over the badlands. Next on my agenda was attending a performance of the famous "Medora Musical" in an adjacent amphitheater. Looking down over the glow coming from the canyons below, I could understand why the amphitheater was named Burning Hills.

The "Medora Musical," one of North Dakota's leading tourist attractions, is an acclaimed and very professionally produced two-hour song-and-dance extravaganza featuring Western and historical themes devoted to Teddy Roosevelt. The family-friendly patriotic show also features some nationally known variety acts.

Performances are held every evening during the warmer months in the 2,900-seat amphitheater carved into a badlands canyon. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Exploring North Dakota; across Plains, Badlands, Find History, Beauty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.