What Was That Sound? – Theodore Roosevelt National Park

As part of our annual trip to Minnesota we stopped in Theodore Roosevelt National Park for the 2nd year in a row.  It’s a great park in Medora, North Dakota.  Way underused so it’s possible to take one of the easy marked trails and still never see another person anywhere near by.  To top that, it’s so underused that you can actually just go wherever you want without having to stick to the established trails unlike in most parks.  This comes in handy when you want to walk through the prarie dog towns.  As much fun as that is, that’s not what this post is actually about.

We spent 2 nights in the park at the Cottonwood Campground in the South Unit (there’s actually 2 sections of the park that are completely separated).  At 6 AM Saturday morning I hear an odd sound and wake up.  It’s chewing within feet of my head.  I know the park has wild horses and Bison and the horses have been hanging around the campground.  I poke Amber awake and whisper “horses?”.  I get the headshake.

An agonizing 5-10 minutes later it sounds safe so we poke our heads out and find that the Bison had moved across the road and we could safely get out of the tent.  We ran into another camper who was watching them who unfortunately didn’t have a camera with him but he said he was actually worried about one of the Bison walking straight through our tent.

As we are standing around, we see a couple more groups of Bison come into the campground area, none of them walking directly through our campsite but pretty darn close.   There was a water spigot 20 feet from where we were parked, one of the Bison thought it was pretty interesting to play with.

Until it scared him away when it turned on.

After the Bison decided to move on to another area, Amber turned the water off.

Oh did I mention that the Bison are coming into mating season so the males are starting to doing the whole rolling around in the dust to impress the girls?

It took us 2.5 hours to break camp that morning, but it turns out we had some distractions.