If TR liked adventure, his hunting trip to Dakota Territory in 1883 fit the bill neatly. In a highly entertaining and incredibly vivid letter to his wife Alice, TR describes sickness, hunger, thirst, damp, cold, bloodshed, and an intense frustration over his inability to bag a buffalo – or anything else.
For many Americans, Memorial Day is the official kick-off of summer, promising the first camping trip of the season or perhaps an outdoor barbecue. It’s a long weekend for many, with Monday declared a national holiday - and a day off of work.
When TR arrived in Little Missouri in September of 1883 to hunt for buffalo, he was stunned by the wild, rough terrain, and yet curiously taken with it. There is a desolate, eerie, beauty in the badlands of North Dakota, where weather, time of day, and time of year create ever-changing color and shadow plays on the stratus of the unusual rock formations.
Shelter is necessary for the survival of the body, and houses provide that shelter; the building of a home, however, is a more tender necessity that sustains the heart.
The Plains are in a drought, and one that has crept slowly and steadily northward from its epicenter in the south, which has been without adequate moisture for several years.
People say many things about distance, like “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line,” or “The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult,” or “It is easy to be brave from a safe distance,” to name just a few.
Spring has arrived here in western North Dakota, and with it comes branding season. Calves are generally born throughout the early spring, and many are vaccinated and branded before being turned out. Brandings in this part of the world are often conducted much as they were years ago, and I have participated in quite a few.