The last day of our Badland’s get-away we explored the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This portion of the park is different from the southern unit. It is fresher looking with sharper outlines and has a harsher look, less rounded and less eroded. It is here that we saw the interesting concretions pictured in the photo above. Concretions are masses of mineral matter embedded in rock layers such as sandstone.They take shape when minerals precipitating out of water collect around a nucleus such as a pebble or bone. They range in size from small to quite huge.

The geology of the Badlands is very interesting to me. Both units of the park were basically formed by erosion. The north unit, however, was formed by a different source of erosion than the south unit not too many miles away. During the Pleistocene, the time period of numerous Ice Ages, great continental ice sheets advanced southward from present-day Canada and reached as far as the upper North Unit boundary in the park. The ice blocked the flow of the north-flowing rivers, forcing them to create new courses eastward and southward, causing them to empty into the Mississippi River instead of Hudson Bay. The south unit was less effected by these huge ice sheets and we can see the difference today.

Place where concretions can be found.
The Little Missouri River

The Little Missouri River winds it way south to empty into the Yellowstone which empties into the big Missouri River which then joins the Mighty Mississippi.

A towering cottonwood tree

We made our way past a place where various sized concretions can be found and on to Cottonwood Campground just to check it out. Many towering cottonwood trees grace the sky with beautiful out stretched limbs.

Already the shadows were getting longer as we made our way to the top of the plateau past amazingly gorgeous cliffs. Reaching the top we found ourselves in national grasslands where bison were grazing and the sun was going down.

Soon it was dark and time to head back to Williston where I would catch the train the following day after attending Mass as it would be Sunday. Thank you Deb and Rex for the most enjoyable Autumn trip to western North Dakota. I had a great time visiting, exploring, and playing cards. We had some mighty good meals and the opportunity to attend Mass at beautiful St Joseph’s church in Williston, my favorite kind of get-away.

On a Different Note: Happy Birthdays to Latah and Jason whose special days are one day apart. Latah was honored with several birthday celebrations but Jason’s birthday won’t be celebrated by the extended family until Thanksgiving. I did make cards for the two, however.

Happy Birthday Jason – November 7th
Happy Birthday Latah – November 6th

Dennis invited us over for dinner to celebrate Latah’s 11th birthday. Thank you Dennis.

Strawberry sponge cakes
The birthday dinner
Dessert by candlelight
The gift opening

When we got home Latah tried on her new birthday shirts, a Pendleton wool and a black fleece.

Teagan had to leave for a soccer awards event. After dinner Latah challenged me to a Ping-Pong game. Guess who won !! Teagan received an award for the best foot work on her soccer team.

Last But Definitely Not Least:

My sister Donna, Terry’s mother, said she is a bit unnerved in that where ever she drives around town, there is Terry looking down at her. We are proud of Terry as he is a genuine all around good guy.

Terry Wanzek, besides being my first born nephew, is a member of the North Dakota State Senate, representing district 29. He assumed office in 1994 and his current term ends on December first this year. He is running for re-election and is on today’s ballot in the general election. He served as president pro tempore of the Senate from 2013 -2015 and was a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1992 – 1994.  Good luck Terry. The people of North Dakota are fortunate to have you. We will soon know if they are smart enough to realize it.