Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Medora, North Dakota.

For this week’s “Inspiration” challenge by Tina Schell, I am putting a bit of a historical twist in play. You can read Tina’s post here.

Regular readers of this humble blog know of my love for North Dakota. It was the home of my birth, and though I spent my formative years in other states, in the late 1970’s I was drawn back to the state by the opportunity of a new career. Finding a lifelong home in Fargo, I retired from that career in support of education.

“I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

It would be easy to say the state inspired me, but it’s not the same as the inspiration that North Dakota brought to our 26th president. Known by his nickname Teddy, Roosevelt served as our nation’s leader from 1901 to 1909. In 1883, the conservationist president came to North Dakota to hunt buffalo. No doubt inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the North Dakota badlands, the large expanse of prairie grasses, and the potential for raising and selling livestock in the booming cattle business, he was drawn to cattle ranching.

Roosevelt built a cattle ranch and lived in a cabin a few miles south of what is now the town of Medora when the easterner from New York spent his time in the state. In the winter of 1884, he was back in New York. On February 14, 1884, his wife and mother died within hours of each other. Devastated, he went back to North Dakota to grieve. Giving up politics for a time, he engrossed himself in cattle ranching and worked as a sheriff. He returned to New York and politics by 1886.

Others have been inspired by the 26th president’s visits to North Dakota. Sculptor in iron and steel, Gary Greff built an attraction along a North Dakota road. The Enchanted Highway is east of Dickinson and runs from Gladstone to Regent, North Dakota. The sculptures stationed along the way feature familiar themes to North Dakotans. One of the exhibits features a representation of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback.

“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

In 1947, President Truman was inspired to honor a presidency marked by visionary leadership in conservation policy by creating Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the only park in the national park system to be named after a person.

Most of the photos for this challenge submission were captured within the last couple of weeks as my wife and I traveled across the southern portion of the state on our way to visit national parks in Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Thanks to Tina for allowing me an excuse to share some of my most recent photos of my favorite state.

John Steiner

25 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

  1. Had no idea of that part of Roosevelt’s history John so thanks for sharing that. Loved your images of the wide open spaces and of course the grazing buffalo. ND is one of few states we’ve not visited. Definitely on my “some-day” list! Interesting that you’re on a national parks visit trip – not worried about the pandemic as you travel???

    • We are very cautious about the pandemic protocols. Despite what we see on social media, most people are following mask mandates. While in the parks mostly in our car, we are fine, of course. We pick our restaurants carefully and avoid crowded spaces. Hotels have been super about cleanliness and social distancing. All in all, we are comfortable with our trip so far.

  2. I wish President Roosevelt could whisper into the ears of most of today’s leaders about the importance of preserving the ever dwindling natural spaces and resources left in the world, for all our sakes.

      • Earlier this year I watched some history shows and am I right that teddy was only supposed to be VP?
        And I can see why he is a fav – he did many good things

      • thanks – and the documentary I watched said that some of the folks that helped Teddy get into office did not ever imagine he would become president – something like that

        and side note _ i grew up off of McKinley parkway in Western New York – and we were proud of our ties to presidents

  3. Your first shot shows a landscape that is beautiful on the earth and in the sky. I’ve read a few books on Roosevelt, one of my favorite presidents. I’ll have to get to the park named after him one day.

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