Reflecting and Looking Forward: Theodore Roosevelt National Park – North Unit

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As our time at Theodore Roosevelt National Park comes to a close, I realize that it’s challenging to reflect on this period and write about it.

Most of the time blogging comes easy. The subject and title just sort of develop themselves and I just have to let the story flow. That has not been the case with the final entry on THRO.

I’m unsure about the reason, but perhaps it’s just difficult to sum up our experience in a short writing. Not because we did so much, or that we were tasked with learning everything we could about the Park and sharing that with tons of visitors.

Camp hosting in Juniper Campground certainly was unlike our interpretive experience at Devils Tower where we went 90 miles an hour all day long four days a week. In fact, this assignment was quite the opposite. While we worked/hosted every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for two months, it wasn’t non-stop work.

Aside from making our routine rounds several times a day, working in the campground is really like being on-call.

We found it interesting to learn about visitors and their travels and to share our experiences. During an occasional break we did a little hiking and took the scenic drive several times to enjoy the wildlife and amazing views of the badlands. We took a couple of 70-mile trips to the larger South Unit of the Park and strolled through the quaint shops in the town of Medora and went to the excellent Medora Musical one evening.

Two months went by quickly thanks to our visit from Robin and Jerry, which I already blogged about, but our daily interactions with the Park Rangers kept us uplifted, too.

Interp Rangers, Law Enforcement Rangers, Maintenance staff, and Morgan (Fee Services) were all participants in our daily lives. Ken’s favorite visitor was always Roxie and I think she looked forward to their visits even more… if for nothing else, she came for the Milk Bone dog treats! So spoiled, lol. My one regret is that I didn’t get a photo of Roxie!

We really appreciated that we were always included on group gatherings for BBQ, the fish fry, and recently, the chili dinner. Those times of fellowship are so important when family is far away, as nearly everyone working in the Park is living/working away from home.

Speaking of home, as of early this morning, we are making our journey toward St. Louis. By the time we get there, it will have been a year since we were last at home for a brief visit. But, it was actually sixteen months ago when we left for the trip West.

My excitement about coming home is emotional and gives me a feeling of gratitude, for family/friends, as well as, the experiences and people we’ve met on this journey.

Continuing with this travel theme, after a month at home, we are returning to the Okefenokee for six months of reconnecting with our friends there (Gracie, Katie and Bruce, Maggie, Carol and Ivan, Vivian) and another volunteer assignment, which also brings us back home to Mark and Laurie in Ponce Inlet!

Dorothy and Ken

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