Wolf Draw Geocache
Near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota
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Exploring North Dakota 

On a trip from Montana to Missouri, we decided to spend some time in North Dakota. We were disappointed, but not surprised to learn that few geocaches have been placed in western North Dakota. After a stop at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in the northwest corner of the state near Williston, we headed south to the north unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This park is divided into three sections: a north unit, a south unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Site in between. Each area is surrounded by a combination of private property and public lands including state and national forests, grasslands, and BLM areas.

As we drove down the 14 mile scenic drive at the north unit, we enjoyed views of the " North Dakota badlands" as well as a beautiful river bottom. Along with prairie dog towns, we came across many buffalo (left) roaming the park. The picture (above left) shows the RV at the end of the road at the Oxbow Overlook. In one direction is the rolling prairie and the other direction is the river and badlands (above right).

As we drove toward the south unit, we discussed the beauty of this unique area of north America and decided that a geocache might draw more people to visit.

Building our Geocache

On September 11, 2001, we camped in the small town of Medora. It was a tragic day for the nation, but the patriotic spirit was strong in the small town with flags waving. We explored the south unit of the park on September 12th. At the visitor center we learned about a gravel road that takes people to the Elkhorn Ranch site. We decided that the public land between the National Park units might be a good location for a geocache.

On the right is a picture of the geocache we created. We placed the logbook, pens/pencils, geocache directions, treasures, disposable camera, and garbage bags (to encourage people to clean up on their way out) in an ammo case and painted the outside with the words "geocache" (right).

With our topo map of the Little Missouri National Grassland in hand, we headed north through the south unit of the park. The ranger at the visitor's center told us that people should always check with them about the condition of the road before heading to the Elkhorn Ranch area. It was a beautiful summer day, so we headed north through the south unit to the turnoff to the Elkhorn Ranch Site gravel road. We saw some wild horses grazing along with road. We soon reached the park boundary. This area has a mixture of private and public land. We passed two well-traveled country roads heading east, but continued to head north.

At 7.25 miles from the park boundary, we noticed a rough, dirt road heading east and decided to do some exploring. We're sure this road can get muddy and impassable, so we suggest a 4 wheel drive or short hike from there. On the map, it shows that this land is National Grassland, so we thought it would be okay to place a cache. We drove .25 miles down the road and walked .05 to the top of the knob from there.

Placing the Geocache

This beautiful area is filled with small hills and buttes. We thought the one at the left would be great for a geocache (notice the juniper tree at the top). On the crest, we found the lone juniper tree that would provide nice shelter for the cache (above right).

We got out our GPS device and checked the location. The cache is at - N 47 05 428 W 103 31 939. Being our first cache, we were nervous about whether we got the right coordinates, so we went down the hill , restarted the GPS, and tried our coordinates. It worked! Cool!

The views of the area are shown below. The first picture shows the view to the south, the right shows the view to the north, and the center picture shows Annette at the cache.

Exploring the Geocache

We have a few suggestions if you want to visit the geocache. This area is home to rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. Be careful! Also, take care when you walk on the fragile terrain and don't drive off the dirt road. You'll find all kinds of wildlife on the road to the site, so keep you eyes open. We saw wild horses, a coyote, prairie dogs, and buffalo. Be sure to explore the interesting plant life and geology too.

We hope you enjoy our first geocache! :-)

Go to the Wolf Draw page at geocaching.com for additional details and logs.

 
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Created by
Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 09/01.