Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Running in North Dakota: soaking crossing of the South Section

I don't have much time tonight, before an early start tomorrow morning, what about leaving the pictures tell the story for a change, and just summarize my experience of this National Park with these telegraphic notes?
  1. Rain storm on the road, and local tornado the night before, lot of water again!
  2. With so little time to prepare and spend in this National Park, I had a simple goal: just cross the South Section (the North Section is 70 miles apart).
  3. Painted Canyon Trail down from the ridge/visitor center (2.1 miles), left on Upper Paddock Creek Trail (3.3 miles), continue straight on Lower Paddock Creek Trail (3.6 miles): simple and easy on paper!
  4. From the Painted Canyon visitor center at the South East entrance of the park on Interstate 94 to Peaceful Valley Ranch on the West side of the South Section of the Park.
  5. First, I could not find the trail head. Hint: it's not the same as the nature trail/loop.
  6. Went on the Nature Trail loop instead, for about a mile.
  7. An early taste of sticky and slippery mud...
  8. The Painted Canyon trail head is on the other side of the parking lot, dude!
  9. Confusing trail with different ground color (black, grey, white, red, green). The time that the trail was really easy to spot was when, later in my run, it turned into a stream!
  10. Amazing views all around: many stops to enjoy and take pictures (and offload 2 pounds of mud off my soles every 300 yards or so!)
  11. Buffalo poops everywhere: I was wondering when I was going to run into a herd, although not really anticipating the encounter given the danger warning on trail posts.
  12. First wild life, except for many birds and a few insects, was a large deer.
  13. Then a tiny frog.
  14. After an hour without rain, the sky opened up and the trail became muddy and slippery streams, really hard to navigate through the successive deep canyon crossings.
  15. Excellent protection with my Ultimate Direction ...
  16. Agnès was hiking toward me but turned back when the storm hit.
  17. And I didn't see a single soul on these trails!
  18. Only 9.3 miles of running across the South Section of this park but the views were already amazing.
  19. And we saw even more driving the scenic road around that South Section, like buffalos, the wild horses again and many more multicolored layers of rocks (and black coal veins).
That was for South Dakota on Day 5. Now in Montana (Billings) for a quick stop by Yellowstone National Park this Wednesday. Until we come back for a few more days to give that amazing park the respect it deserves. When we can make time for it...

2 Relive.cc 3D flyovers: the short Painted Canyon nature trail loop and the crossing along Paddock Creek.

And now for the pictures, each worth a thousand words as the saying goes...

Good morning America and North Dakota!
 Painted Canyon
 At the start of the Painted Canyon nature trail loop

 Going deep below the ridge

Can you spot something on the middle of the ridge
Easier with the 40x zoom of our Canon SX720!
Just an iPhone 8 for that little frog posing for a picture
Big guys!

One of the many muddy crossings

NPS' map of the South Section

Monday, June 29, 2020

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area: I let the river do the running for once!

Day 4 of our road trip got us crossing the famous Mississippi, another of Agnès' dreams. We did it through the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in Minnesota. While not really a National Park, we stopped by the headquarters of the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area, close enough. Indeed, like the National Mall in DC, it is managed by the National Park Service. After a big storm all night, it was still pouring rain in the morning. With 6 more hours of driving after our stop and no opportunity to shower, I didn't run this time, just walked the trails of Harriett Island Regional Park, in St. Paul.
What I find ironic is that the Mississippi is only the second longest river in the US but the longest, the Missouri, actually flows into the Mississippi. The two plus many key rivers make for an amazing water drainage system, yet only second to the Hudson Bay.
Picture by Shannon1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47308146

Speaking of saints with St. Paul, I didn't realize our Cloud business had a patron saint!

St. Cloud, MN, is located about 100 kilometers Northwest of the Twin Cities.

Never thought of pronouncing the name of this Merovingian Catholic Saint, or our Parisian suburb, Saint-Cloud, like the weather or IT word. I also learned that his original name was Clodoald. I also realize I don't know anyone with Cloud (or Clodoald!) as their first name. And, yet, according to BabyCenter.com (?), the popularity peaked the past two years at 60 babies per million. The proud parents must work at Amazon, Microsoft, Google or... IBM! Because, yes, never mind the reluctance of journalists to admit it, IBM is also a key Cloud player!

Back to the pronunciation, here is what I found:

  1. It would be useful to note how the name of this city is pronounced. Is it some approximation to the French original [san'klu] or pronounced as though it is the English words "saint" and "cloud" [seɪnt'klaʊd]? [--Macrakis]
  2. I'm from the area and I've always heard it pronounced the same way as any English speaker would pronounce "saint" and "cloud".[--Daveswagon]
  3. [san'klu] is occasionally used by people being obtuse. I've heard it maybe 2-3x in my life. [-Ravedave]

Pun intended, if it's pronounced klaʊd, sounds like this could be used as the patron saint for our IT cloud concept after all...

By the way, 5 US States have their own St. Cloud: Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, West Virginia and Wisconsin!

And, out of a rather lack of distinctive of downtown character, it was odd to find a Catholic Cathedral (St Mary's) emerging with this attempt to mimic the Romanesque architecture, with bricks! (Including this mention for my dad who is a specialist and wrote three books on this architecture style across Europe.)

See more about the city of St. Cloud, MN in Wikipedia.

That was for Wisconsin early morning, and Minnesota mid day. We are now in North Dakota, a first for both of us, and, after crossing the Continental Divide this afternoon, set to explore the South part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park tomorrow morning. Progress!

PS: a few additional pictures.

A large water drainage system calls for... a lot of rain!
Seen on the Plaza de Honor, two quotes from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, so appropriate today... "The principle on which the country was founded... is that Americanism is a matter of mind and heart."
And... "Americanism is not and never was a matter of race or ancestry." --FDR, 1943

 A very artistic playground!

 Majestic tree.
 A paddle share system!
 It rains so much here, they keep boats under cover!

 Thank you, Rotary!
 A piece of wind mill hard to move around!
 When the engine calls (Native American female driver)...
 Never ending trains.