North Dakota's ranch country
You don’t have to go far outside of the North Dakota Capitol City to find a different kind of busy intersection. A local gang hanging out under the street sign, looking for trouble doesn’t have the same meaning in North Dakota as in other places.
Street signs are abundant any where people are moving — they have to know where they’re going. And that’s true out in Morton County, just west of Bismarck. If you take some of the local roads you’ll find you are directed down the road to households within the same extended family — all building their legacy on the prairie — with the help of mother cow and her calves. At least I think they were there to help. I didn’t bother them. That cold icy stare was enough to keep me in my truck.
In this July jaunt through the hills of west river (Missouri River) North Dakota I had no idea where I was going, or where I was and frankly the street signs didn’t help much, so eventually I turned around, but not until I brushed by a bit of isolated civilization in the wide open pasture and grazing of western North Dakota. It’s a good part of my portfolio, shooting this model I love to photograph — North Dakota. Mykuhls Photography
North Dakota traffic hazard
Unlike high-traffic areas where drivers are alert for other drivers, trash and lost loads on the highway, here in North Dakota, we look for different obstacles — livestock on the road. All it takes is one loose string of wire on a fence and some agile calf will get through, leading others to the other side of the fence — even if the grass is no greener.
Fortunately here in North Dakota, your sight distance is great enough that it’s unlikely that you would come up on something like this without a lot of opportunity to see what could be ahead.
On highway 36 near Wing, North Dakota, these calves calmly went about their exploration, milling about the ditches and highways. I drove through the small herd, then turned to get this image up the hill from me. They were politely cooperative. I got my shot and headed on away from them.
If any other vehicles had approached I may have flashed my lights to warn them of the impending traffic hazard. But again, as is typical in North Dakota, you just don’t see a lot of traffic out here. Most of the moving vehicles, at least along this road at this time of the year, is off to the side of the road. A lone combine gobbles up grain that will move by truck from the field to the nearby storage at a farmer’s grain bin or at the nearby elevator.
It’s a pastoral, quiet lifestyle here on the Northern Plains. Safe too, if the greatest danger is not road rage, but highway heifers.