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. Agn├Ęs 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

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