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A bully way to start your morning in beautiful Medora

Hiking opportunities beckon outdoor enthusiasts to the Badlands of western North Dakota to join Teddy Roosevelt actor on two novel Point-to-Point hikes.

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Theodore Roosevelt, played by premiere reprisor Joe Weigand, leads hikers up the Pancratz Trail.
(Photo courtesy of Tim Olson / TRMF)
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MEDORA, N.D. — Theodore Roosevelt's experiences in North Dakota centered on the Western Edge, where the rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world each year to its striking geologic deposits containing some of the world's richest fossil beds.

It was in these Badlands that Roosevelt ranched and hunted over a period of several years, and attributed his now famous quote, “I have always said I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota."

Now those same experiences are available to outdoor enthusiasts who wish to follow in the same shoes as the hard-nosed adventurer who would later become the 26th president of the United States.

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Theodore Roosevelt, as reprised by Joe Weigand, leads visitors on a Point-to-Point hike in Medora, N.D.
Photo courtesy of Tim Olson / TRMF

Roosevelt’s favorite personal game, the Point-to-Point hike, had just one rule — whatever obstacle lies ahead, you must never go around, but always over, under or through.

Nearly 140 years later, the famed Point-to-Point hikes he would embark on remain a part of Medora’s unique outdoor opportunities. Lovingly built directly into the stunning bluffs that overlook the town, the trail offers outdoor lovers with an array of options to go over, under or through while accompanied by the man himself.

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Joe Wiegand, Medora’s heralded repriser of Roosevelt, has traveled to each of the 50 states to perform. Wiegan even reprised the role in a performance at the White House as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Roosevelt's birth. Now he leads two different guided hikes happening on Point-to-Point trails in Medora.

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The first of the two hikes available is the challenging “Strenuous Life Hike,” which occurs at 8 a.m. on each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, between June 8 and Sept. 10, weather permitting. The approximately 90 minute hike lives up to TR’s famous 1899 speech, “The Strenuous Life."

Outdoors enthusiasts will cross the Coal Vein Canyon, head up to Reclamation Point, saunter down to Horse Stable Overlook, before eventually landing atop Schafer’s Point—the exact location Harold Schafer stood when he dreamed up magical Medora. The out-and-back experience is sure to invigorate history and outdoor fans alike.

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Hikes depart from the first bench along the Point-to-Point Trails, about 200 yards up from the trail head kiosk, just off of 6th street in Medora, N.D.
Photo courtesy of Tim Olson / TRMF

The second hike available is the less “strenuous” of the two and is aptly named “Mornings On Town Butte,” which occur at 8 a.m. each Wednesday and Friday, between June 8 and Sept. 10, weather permitting. The approximately 35-minute hike is a not-too-easy, moderate hike that provides opportunities for children to explore, reveal great views of Medora and get the blood going and lungs filled with the fresh morning air. Touted as truly the perfect way to start a day in Medora, the hike is suited for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

The hikes are part of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation’s aim to connect people to historic Medora in ways that create positive and life-changing experiences.

A public non-profit organization formed in 1986, courtesy of a multi-million dollar gift from Harold Schafer and his family, their mission is threefold. TRMF seeks to preserve the experience of the badlands, the historic character of Medora and the values and heritage of Theodore Roosevelt and Harold Schafer; to present unique opportunities for guests to be educated and inspired through interpretive programs, museums and attractions that focus on the Old West, North Dakota’s patriotic heritage and the life of Theodore Roosevelt in the badlands; and lastly, to serve the traveling public, by providing comfort while visiting historic Medora, the Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The foundation recently gifted 3.5 acres to the forthcoming Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation for use as a walking and hiking pathway, and a redesigned passage to both the Burning Hills Amphitheater and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and Presidential Library are crucial partners,” Linda Pancratz, board chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, said. “This gift makes clear that our success is shared — for Medora, Billings County, North Dakota, and our nation.”

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For more information on the Point-to-Point hikes, or the ongoing mission of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, call 701-955-2158; or visit medora.com .

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Mornings On Town Butte is a moderate hike that will give the kids time to explore, reveal great views of Medora and get the blood going and lungs filled with fresh morning air.
Photo courtesy of Tim Olson / TRMF

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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