Beauty is where you find it — if you’re looking for it.

An abandoned truck from decades ago in the Badlands.

An abandoned truck from decades ago in the Badlands.

Have you ever noticed that negative critical people find negative things to criticize? Conversely, a person who goes looking for good, for beauty will find it – often in the same area where black-hearted people see decay and destruction.

That’s the case here in the Badlands, the Bakken Shale Play region of North America. People who do not live here are sending film crews, photographers and others here to document the destruction of the Badlands caused by the oil boom. With a predetermined point of view, a prejudice, they look for and find what is in their heart.  People with a good heart see good, see beauty.  What is in the heart of the Bakken haters?

magpie creek

One of the many oxbow bends in the Magpie Creek that feeds in to the Little Missouri River

I see the same beauty out here that I’ve always seen in my 33 years of exploring and hiking the North Dakota Badlands and Grasslands.  It’s one of the most popular galleries on my website www.mykuhls.com

Little Mo ice jam

Ice goes out on the Little Missouri River as it winds through the Badlands toward the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea.

On this day, March 11 I drove one of my favorite roads for only about 10 miles. The Long X road extends from south of Watford City to north of Killdeer, about 30 miles of gravel – much of it “unimproved” gravel.   The ice was going out and rain was moving north of the region.  Sure signs of the exciting time called “spring.”

A month later, I found the other end of the road near Killdeer.  The road follows the Little Missouri River that flows through the epicenter of the Bakken Oil Play where there are literally thousands of oil wells extracting oil to build up America’s energy independence.   It’s even more spring-like and even more exciting.  It is beautiful, open country.

Destruction? Pollution? Damage? I don’t see it. Do you?

Muddy water from snow melt up in the hills finds its way to the Little Missouri River

North of Killdeer, muddy water from snow melt up in the hills finds its way to the Little Missouri River

You can see more of not only mine, but my hiking partner’s views at www.mykuhls.com

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June 18 part deux

Remember these days?

On the way back to Bismarck from the Twin Buttes Powwow, I drove through Golden Valley, North Dakota.  A remarkable family tradition of a different kind is enshrined just off  Main street. There the Lindemann’s have invested themselves in restoring and maintaining a bit of history.  This Standard Oil gas station is actually the entrance to a private Harley-Davidson Museum.  Neatly displayed inside the museum is at least one Harley-Davidson from every year of production — and each one runs, ready to be rolled out on the street of John chooses.

John Lindemann inherited his father’s love of meticulous restoration.  His father, Bill restores old Model As and Model Ts to running and operating perfection.  It wasn’t too long ago that the pair would be seen putting down some back road to a car show or motorcycle show in Canada or the West Coast to display their work and take home accolades.  Their attention to detail is evident with the effort put in to just the front door entrance to their private museum.  The gas pumps that I can barely remember from my pre-driving days.  How far back does your memory of these corner icons go?

January 17

Sagagawea and the Corps of Discovery at night

We return to Western North Dakota for a trip down Highway 200 including a stop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center in Washburn.  The foggy misty night made the large statues a soft glow.

Antique Ford resting in the snow

Antique Ford resting in the snow

Earlier in the day, I stopped in Golden Valley, North Dakota. On the south side of town is a row of unused equipment, including this old grain truck — still licensed, though not with current tags.  Golden Vally has a good display of antique equipment, mostly antique construction equipment.  However, if you’re fortunate to be there when the Lindemann’s are around, you can talk them in to touring one of the most extensive Harley Davidson museums anywhere!  At least one model HD from every year is in their museum. (More about that later in ND 365.)

Drilling rigs light up the night in western ND

My turn around point on the day’s trip was the Killdeer Mountains near Killdeer, North Dakota.  Here, one of the many oil rigs is drilling for oil.  The area is seeing a resurgence in oil activity.  More than 100 rigs are operating in the state, the highest number since the early 1980’s.