Captain’s Log: April 26th, 2013 – Day #5: Real, Surreal, Romantic, and Wilderness

28 Apr
By Aaron Barth, Basecamp Manager

Last week while tooling around with and providing basecamp support for Richard Rothaus, Andrew Reinhard, and Adventure Science in the badlands and above the Bakken oil patch in western North Dakota, one of the evening camp sites we occupied was located in the National Grasslands. Starting on the evening of April 25, 2013, a Thursday, and ending on the morning of April 26, 2013, a Friday, I noticed that over the course of about 10 hours, depending on the direction one looked and at what time of day, the spot of our camp site was on a borderland between the city and the country, the petroleum industry and the grassland wilderness.

Reinhard ultimately found the place we would camp that night, this on one of the thousands of finger-ridge buttes that the badlands offers. On the butte of our campsite (about 15 to 20 miles west of Grassy Butte, North Dakota), short trees and shrubbery protected our spot from any potential winds that would come out of the west and north, and just a bit to the east. A larger butte to the south would provide additional wind break. A raised and ditched scoria/clinker road wrapped around this larger butte, and like most of these roads, it was made sturdy enough for semi tractor trailer traffic.

Below are photos arranged in chronological order, and this speaks to how the surreal and romantic, the wilderness and industry, all intersect at one particular location, and all in less than half a day.

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Photo of evening campsite, looking north, tent at bottom-center.

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Just as the sun dips down and sets in the west behind the badland buttes.

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Photo looking to the north. Andrew Reinhard at left has Richard Rothaus at right go over his photos from another 10+ mile leg of Adventure Science’s 100 miles of North Dakota Wild.

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Not long after the sun set in the west, I looked to the east and saw this moon rising.

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While the moon was low in the sky, it looked like this, with serious camera zoom.

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While the moon was low in the sky, it looked like this, with serious camera zoom.

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Just as the sun starts to rise, the petroleum industry returns. This photo is from our National Grasslands campsite, early morning, facing south.

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Eventually one embraces the industrial surreal and absurd, and begins to make morning coffee while smiling. This photo is from the campsite, facing south toward the scoria/clinker road and taller butte.

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After the coffee was made, chairs were set up along the roadside to take in the industrial sounds of a morning in western North Dakota. This photo is from the campsite, facing west-southwest.

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