I also spent a couple of days at the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but I don’t feel like my pictures from the South Unit were nearly as good as those from the North Unit. I am not sure why but it may be because most of the hiking trails that I went on turned out to be quite flat and not as photogenic as the trails at the North Unit. When I went on the steeper canyon trails, the sky had become very overcast. But I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the hiking. Below is a map of the South Unit. I stayed three nights in a hotel in Medora, which is a little town that seems to exist to serve park visitors.
My first day at the South Unit didn’t begin until about 10:00AM as I woke up in my tent, camping at the North Unit and just got my tent packed away before the rain started. I drove around looking for any other morning pictures and found more bison near the river and had to stop for a photo. The bison were getting some morning sunlight, but that wouldn’t last long.
I drove down to the South Unit and got into the park at about 10:00AM. As I was driving along the park roads, I stopped to view wildlife a few times. Below is a photo I took while watching a herd of wild horses along the road. The park apparently has quite a herd of wild horse and I saw them at multiple places. You can see that the sky really cleared up after the rains.
The first trail that I sort of randomly selected was the Upper Talkington Trail from the roadside pullout to the eastern park boundary and back (about 7.6 miles). This was a mostly flat trail through multiple prairie dog communities than ended with a mild climb. I was concerned that it might be muddy from the morning rains and it was in places, but it wasn’t too bad. Below is a panorama stitched from seven handheld images that I took toward the far end of the trail. I would like to point out that this image has negative 2 color saturation; it was just a really colorful scene. I was attracted to the repeating, colorful hills across the landscape. The sun was in and out of the clouds as you can see.
With prairie dogs barking at me almost continually, I finished this hike. On the way back, a large bison bull was in the trail grazing, so I took a rather wide detour across the prairie to avoid him. As I neared the parking lot I took a picture that I rather like. There was a tree on a hill next to a trail marker with a bird perched on it; it may be difficult to see the bird. That with the white puffy clouds made me stop and shoot it. Such a happy scene.
The Camera Bra
I got a new accessory for this trip to hopefully help take the load off of my neck while hiking. It’s called a camera chest harness, but I just think of it as a camera bra. Normally, with the camera strap around my neck, the back of my neck begins to get sore after a while and this would be made worse by a new heavier lens that I bought. With this camera bra, the camera attaches to the harness which goes over my shoulders instead and is much more comfortable. In the below photo I am wearing my camera harness and a backpack. You can see that the harness basically goes over the shoulder and around each arm and then has clips that attach to the camera straps; I have the neck strap looped through my backpack strap to keep my mind at ease. I can still lift the camera up to my eye to take a photo.
You’ll have to forgive my hairy arm holding my phone and the funny look of concentration on my face as I work the phone camera backwards so I can use the wide lens on the back. Also, I had been planting in the yard this day and apparently still had some dirt on my face.
There was more hiking and unremarkable photos and my day ended at an overlook that I struggled to figure out what to do with. There were low lying clouds on the western horizon that were going to block the sunset light and it didn’t look like it would be spectacular anyway. So I focused on the opposite direction and decided to use a park bench that overlooks a valley that was lit by the evening sun. I tried a version of this with me sitting on the park bench, but I didn’t frame it well and it didn’t work.
That’s what I have from the South Unit so far. Thanks for reading and don’t forget the wild turkey.