Quick trip to the least visited state in the nation, North Dakota. Quick flight to Bismarck, ND via Denver, including a stop for a pretty decent bloody mary, steak, and eggs breakfast at Timberline inside Denver International Airport. Then a 2 hour drive from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt National Park's South Unit, starting with a quick hike through Painted Canyon.
Painted Canyon was a pretty small place, a quick reintroduction to the Badlands before heading over to the much larger South Unit visitor center and 34 mile scenic drive. Saw one of Theodore Roosevelt's old cabins, then a few more minutes drive over to a prairie dog town that was right off the road. Tons of fat prairie dogs, they reminded me of tail-less squirrels, only with much more personality. And their trademark noise when alarmed, of course!
Plenty more driving, including the sand-carved canyon along the Lower Missouri River called Wind Canyon, then a turn east with several more stops, including a particular beautiful view from Boicourt Trail. Further down the road was one of the park's 360 degree scenic overlooks, where more and more deer came out as sunset aproached. Had a truly beautiful sight right before leaving the park, as a brace of mule deer, both with terrific antlers, grazed at the edge of the forest.
The nearby town of Medora isn't much, especially after sunset, but the steak at Rough Riders Inn wasn't bad. The drive north to Watford City was a bit tedious and slightly dull (watch out for deer!), but then, farm country after dark usually isn't much to look at. *grins*