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#39 Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit, ND

October 3, 2018

 60 miles north of Theodore Roosevelt South Unit is Theodore Roosevelt North Unit.  Descendants of the Longhorn cattle that Teddy Roosevelt had on his ranch are still grazing in the park.  Such big horns!

 We drove the entire length of the park to Oxbow.  It doesn't take long and is a very pretty drive and view when you arrive.

 Driving back to River Bend Overlook we learned about the Bentonite clay layer that is seen in the bluffs.  If you see a blue-black layer in the bluffs, that's Bentonite Clay.  Up close, it has a popcorn texture and when it gets wet, it flows.  Yes ladies, this is the same Bentonite Clay in your facial masks.  It's supposed to be very cleansing and detoxifying.

 

 

 River Bend Overlook does just that; it overlooks a bend in the Little Missouri River.  

 

 

 See that dark layer on the bluff?  It's Bentonite Clay.  If you went out on that outcropping in a rainstorm, you would probably slide right off.

 

Then it was time to get some more miles in.  Not looking forward to this.  I'm already tired from TR south earlier in the day and it is really hot and humid.  Fred has promised me a meal and hotel bed in Dickinson, ND for the night so with that carrot dangling in front of me, I take off with 3 bottles of water and a protein bar.

 

As always, getting out of the car and up close with nature is rewarding.

 

 

Hobbit hole or rattlesnake hole? 

Either way, I'm not going in there!

 These formations seem unreal, soft and rounded while being capped by very angular breaks.

 

There was evidence of heavy rains recently with a mudslide and much standing water.

 This road had been closed the week before.

 The mosquitos were relentless!  I hate mosquitos...and snakes!

 

The best thing to see at this park is most definitely the Cannon Ball Concretions.  You just won't believe your eyes!

 

 They aren't small either.  That's Fred in the right side of the frame.

 

 

 It's one of those moments when you look around for the cameras.  Surely someone carved these and left them for a prank!  Some of them look like cinnamon rolls and some are almost perfectly round.

 

 Concretions are formed within rocks by the deposition of mineral around a core.  Almost as dreamy as these surreal rocks is the drippy-like erosion around them.  

  

  

 

  The North Unit turned out to be much more remarkable than I could have imagined.  

 

 

 

 

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