Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm hanging out

at a pizza place right now, using their free wi-fi.

I'm in Medora, ND, just outside of theodore roosevelt np. I'm leaving tomorrow for Montana's Glacier np.
My arrival into the park was some what of a mess... I showed up around 7:30pm mountain time and found that the park's campground was full. As it was Saturday, that wasn't a surprise. The entrance lady told me of another camp ground near by. After that we spoke about things I could do while here. She told me of the petrified forest they have out here, the third largest reservation of them in the country. I was super interested so she handed me a map and explained to me how to get there. Cars started pulling up behind me so I just pulled out and fallowed the map. It took me thirty minutes north on a dirt road. Then to a parking lot followed by a short walk to a fence with a small hole to go through so that the cattle out there don't escape. At my car I packed up all the things I was going to use for the next three days. I then proceeded towards the fence, squeezed through and kept going. As I thought this was a short walk I decided my Birkenstock sandals would suffice. Too bad it wasn't until a rough half mile later that I realized I wasn't headed towards a campsite with showers at all. Nope, towards a trail to the Petrified Forest... and my stuff was HEAVEY. Man... my shoulders were burning bad. It was hard to keep balance as I was carrying things on my back and with both of my hands.. wearing open heal and toed sandals. I wont lie, I had socks on too but... they mostly just made my feet slip around.
I turned back and took note of the slowly setting sun. I kept telling myself, lesson learned Natalie. Lesson learned. I finally got back to my car and started laughing. How ridiculous. So I called Evgeny to tell him about it. Mistake number 3... or 4. Yeah, I missed a turn or two and yeah I got completely lost in cougar/bison/mountain lion/rattle snake/cattle country. Wooh. I ended up finding a number next to an oil rig and calling it. Some man named Randel or something talked me back into the right direction.
I got to a campsite near the entrance of the park, it was 10 pm by then and luckily they were still open. Too bad they were full though, so after some talking and whatnot they decided to let me stay at an unofficial site near the porter potties. Boo. But WOOH a place to sleep!! And sleep I did. Finally the sky was clear and I saw the stars. I missed the milky way- it has almost been a year since I saw it last.

Sunday morning I got up and went to the park- got myself a site and re-set up camp. The campsite for T.R.N.P. is 5 miles into the park. The drive is gorgeous of course. There's this scenic loop that circles the park, it's to die for man. I took it later that night and got to see bison, wild horses and some cool deer guys. The wildlife comes out at dusk. I'm missing it now, as I'm typing this stuff up- but that's okay because today was epic.
Last night was great too- I went to this place called "boots and bar" or something for a chicken sandwich. As it's been more than a week that I've had meat, I was craving it pretty bad. It was the first meal I've bought out here which makes me happy. I plan on buying one meal a week at the moooost.
While at the bar I saw another girl sitting by herself, somewhere around my age. After we glanced at each other about 10 times I decided to talk to her. She was traveling by herself as well, from Portland, Oregon. She is without a car though so she's been using grey hound, craigslist rides and hitch hiking. Tough cookie, she's only 19. Her name is Mecha and she's got long red hair and wears cowboy boots with real spurs. Bad A.
She is in Medora because she knows a guy who's working at Boots. She met him at Sasquatch, a music festival. Her traveling mate ditched her so her route that would have taken her up and down the east coast ends here. She went to Montana, Washington I think, and California.
She and I left tha bar together and went to the guy's place that she's staying with- Sam, who works at Boots. There were friendly people there- as it's a communal living area with a house and trailers. Everyone who works in this town is a summer employee who lives here temporarily. All the boots employees live together.
So we were hanging out with the boots crew, then went back to my camp site to burn the first fire I've made out here and eat some yummy marshmallows. I then dropped her back off. Now we're facebook friends hahaha.
She told me lots about Portland, and I've only heard good things before then, so I'm definitely making it a point to see that city for an extended period of time at some point. It sounds great.

Today was the best, for sure. I woke up and made a plan for all the hikes I wanted to go to. Before heading out I gave my itinerary to the camp host who thanked me for having common sense and using it. She later told me I was very prepared and conscious, which makes me happy since that's all I'm trying to do out here.
I went to three or four places. Jone's Creek, Wind Canyons, Biocamp Outlook... I got some great shots. Saw some more wild horses, this time suuuper up close :) Good pictures of them too.
I'm dirty and hungry though, and the temperature is dropping so I need to get going. Gunna drive to Glacier tomorrow, as I said. It's grizzly and black bear country out there. I talked to some people who literally just came from there yesterday and were there for 6 days. They told me about how active the bears are right now so I plan on buying bear mase and not hiking along. I'll go to the overlooks and touristy spots, but unless I make some friends, hiking will have to wait. Which... I better make friends b/c the hiking there is supposed to be AMAZING. Ahh can't wait.
I've enjoyed Theodore Roosevelt park but I'm ready to get going.
I'll be on the road alllll dayyy tomorrow so hit me up ad we can chat.

Peace and love.

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