Deb and Rex rented a beautiful log cabin for us at Logging Camp Ranch located in the Badlands south of Medora. The ranchers own several thousand acres but lease another several thousand from the state. Four generations of one family have been associated with the Logging Camp Ranch. The ranch is not a “dude” ranch or a refurbished historical site. Rather, it is a live, working ranch, from the 1880’s to the present. Besides ranching they take on tourists and rent out several cabins on the property to hunters, birders, families or folks just wanting to experience ranching or the wilds of the North Dakota Badlands. We had a great time walking the meadows, hills and valleys. The ranch is located on part of the Dakota State Forest. I didn’t know North Dakota had a state forest. North Dakota is home to one of the easternmost ponderosa pine forests. At one point, this forest was called the Dakota National Forest – as designated and protected by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. In 1917 the forest was turned over to the care of the state.
There weren’t any hiking trails but we could walk anywhere we wanted so off we went to explore the valleys, trees, meadows, and distant vistas. There were other cabins to check out as well.
There were a group of hunters at the ranch when we were there. One of the gentlemen applied for a permit to shoot a big horn sheep when he was 17 years old. He applied every year for 56 years and this year was lucky. A number of friends came with him for support. We didn’t meet the actual hunter but his buddies told the story. The day before they had located some sheep and they head out for the big hunt early the day we left so we never heard if he was successful or not. I hope he was as they were all very excited and having a great time.
Eventually we drove into Medora. We attend a craft show that was in town and I got a bit of Christmas shopping done. We ate a late lunch at the Little Missouri Saloon. The young man working there was on top of things. The Saloon had hundreds of one dollar bills autographed by customers and attached to the walls and ceiling, a very interesting place. After eating Deb, Rex, and I found an out of the way table and played cards.
We played many games of Pitch on this trip. Over all Deb and I tied, with Rex close behind.
Late afternoon that day we drove into the Park with intentions of hiking out to the old original east entrance, long out of use. When we arrive there was a herd of bison grazing where we needed to walk so we decided we better do that hike the following day, which we did.