July 23

Southwest North Dakota

Go back to the July 5 entry in North Dakota 365 and compare it to this image.

This is the opposite side of the state.  I’m standing on a hill south of South Heart, North Dakota, along the road to show that THIS is what most of North Dakota looks like. The gentle rolling hills, the variegated green of the landscape and the wide open view of a storm passing to the east is what most of the state looks like outside of the Red River Valley.

On this particular day, I was in the western part of the state of an event I thought I was going to shoot.  The event was all weekend long and turned out to pretty much be a bust.  So, I drove gravel roads that allowed me to penetrate the vast unpopulated region of southwestern North Dakota.

I actually had intended to go further south and east in to the white butte region of the state, but my gas gauge limited my enthusiasm.  It was at about this point I realized I needed to head back to civilization to fuel up or I’d be out here forever.

I had meandered my way to this location without marking my route. And as you can guess, there are few if any directional signs or street signs to guide you to where you want to go.

Since I had been looking for photo ops, I had visually studied the landscape and traced my route backwards from where I had started at South Heart.  It was a good thing I did, too because when I got back to Dickinson, I was down to the last gallon of gas in my tank.  I suppose a GPS might be a good thing to have if I were to do this often.  But in all my hiking, hunting and backpacking days, I’ve never gotten lost yet.  So, to depend on a GPS is like depending on an electronic calculator when you’ve sharpened your mental abilities to do complex calculations in your head.  Do you need a GPS?

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