Yup, I saddled up little Rio last Monday and headed west. Luckily for Rio I found the Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch west of Medora, ND that has accommodations for both people AND horses, as you can see by the corrals there behind Rio.
When I checked in to the ranch Monday evening, the man working the bar/front desk asked if I had a horse. I said, "As a matter a fact I do!" and pulled little Rio out of my purse. He didn't seem to appreciate my humor, or maybe he'd had too many city slickers trying to act like rough riders, I'm not sure. Regardless, me and Rio settled into our room at the lodge. We had an incredible view of the North Dakota Badlands off the deck, which I can testify is amazingly beautiful at sunset.
Tuesday I drove over to Wibaux, hoping to do a little deeper research about the history of Wibaux and the cattle ranchers of the 1880s, including the town's founder, Pierre Wibaux. At one time Pierre Wibaux owned more cattle than any other individual in the world! He was a true cattle baron and had friends like Teddy Roosevelt and Marquis de Mores. I roamed the sections roads for awhile, admiring the quiet beauty of eastern Montana's rolling land, spent time in the library, and had lunch at the Shamrock, downtown Wibaux.
On Wednesday I drove to Medora, the quaint little tourist town on the edge of the North Dakota Badlands, where the entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park sits. On the 36-mile loop through the park there are numerous overlooks with incredible views, ones that give you a sense for how it looked a century or two ago. There are wild horses and buffalo herds, antelope, whitetail, muleys...plenty of western inspiration to stir the imagination.
I asked Rio if he wanted to stay there, but he was a little intimidated by the size of the wild horses and opted to come home with me. So now the real work begins!!