Second Trip To Valley Forest On Fort Berthold Reservation

I had a very nice time exploring the only heavily forested area in western North Dakota on Friday July 14.  I wrote about finding this densely forested valley and reading about this area north of the Killdeer Mountains in my previous blog post.

It took me about 1-1/2 hours to drive to this valley, and I didn’t plan on going back until next weekend at the earliest.  I live in a downtown apartment in Dickinson now, and on Saturday I wanted to cook a steak on my charcoal grill.  The best place for me to go on this Saturday, I thought, would be Patterson Lake.  Then, I recollected the fat lower class families and the Hispanic families that use Patterson Lake now, poor apartment dwellers, and the impossibility of getting away from them now that there is concrete sidewalk everywhere, and I no longer wanted to go to Patterson Lake.

Then, there was no changing my mind that there was no place that I would rather be in North Dakota on Saturday than that forested valley that I had found on the Fort Berthold Native American Reservation.  I already had a grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, utensils, plates, chair, sleeping bag, and cooler on my Dodge truck, so that is what I took.  I bought ice and more than enough food and drinks, because this time I was definitely staying overnight.

On the way there I was wishing that I had bought my digital camera because the Dash Cam video from Friday was such poor quality.  I then realized that I had my Microsoft Surface tablet with me, and it takes very good photos and video, so I was happy about that.

I turned onto the valley road and began winding around corners going downhill.  I stopped and took a video of a family of cows right beside the road and they did not object.  Just around the next curve, there was a family of four wild turkeys that scurried away from me, and I thought that they would probably barely show up on my cheap Dash Cam video, too bad.  After a few more turns on the winding road I saw a group of five or six wild horses, and they somewhat cooperated with my video recording.  I didn’t try to get any closer to any of the animals in order to not bother them.

I got to where I wanted to park and camp.  It was a flat spot beside the road, at the very bottom of the valley, with a fairly unobstructed view in all directions so that people and/or animals could not sneak up on me, especially not Bigfoot.

I was hungry so I began setting up my grill and lighting the charcoal so that I could begin cooking my steak right away.  One of the most important things that I brought with me was my Serbian made Zastava AK-47 rifle that is chambered for .308 Winchester.  This caliber rifle has a very long range, and the bullets will go into, if not all the way through vehicle engines.  I bring it because I just don’t know for certain what kind of people will show up, or what their intentions will be.  In order to not disturb the peace in the valley, and to not upset the animals or scare them away, I had no intention of firing my rifle.

I did a little bit of looking, listening, and checking my vicinity before I got settled in.  I didn’t want to unintentionally park where there is a sick animal, a nest or den of animals, or someone else’s campsite close by.  I became convinced that there was no one else around.

After I had eaten some steak, and the charcoal in the grill had burnt down, I left a few supplies beside the grill and I took a short drive in my truck to take more photos and video.  It had crossed my mind to leave the truck and walk, but this would have been foolish, even if I had rolled up the windows and locked the doors.  Though I had not seen a single person or vehicle yesterday or today, the area is so remote that a bad person or persons could take whatever they wanted, or shoot you, knowing full well that there is not likely another person within twenty miles.

I saw more groups of wild horses, and I took more photos and video.  I did not see any other people or vehicles.  As I drove into the Little Missouri River Valley, the view is partly spoiled by the sturdy 8′ tall wire mesh and metal post fencing.  That’s right, 8′ tall fencing.  Everybody knows that four wire 42″ height barbed wire fence keeps cattle in and people out.  The only thing that you would need an 8′ height wire mesh fence for is deer that can jump high, and Bigfoot that are 7′ to 8′ tall.

There are already free range cattle, wild horses, and deer on both sides of the 8′ fence, so why bother?  The answer is, I think, that the Bureau Of Land Management does not want the Bigfoot crossing the Little Missouri River in this particular area and traveling up hill for ten miles because they will get into the oil field locations and be seen.  The 8′ height wire mesh fence is meant to route the Bigfoots further to the west.  However, there were two spots where I saw that the fence had been pushed down, from the Little Missouri River side, by something big that wanted to cross there, regardless of the fence.

As it became dark, I was looking forward to the stars coming out.  When there is no lighting from towns, homes, and businesses, you can see about 90% more stars at night, especially where there is no industrial pollution or haze.

It became pitch black dark by 10:00 p.m.  I became more uneasy, though I had not thought that I would.  I had added more charcoal to the grill, and I had put more steak on.  I tried writing for my blog post on my Microsoft Surface tablet in Microsoft Word.  There was absolutely no cell phone service, and I had turned my cell phone off hours ago.

As I was writing my blog post, writing about Dunn County, I was recalling the conversation that I had had last week with a seventy year old lifelong farmer in Killdeer, “Do not ever, ever be out on the Native American Reservation at night.” And, I was also recalling the conversation that I had had with my co-worker/supervisor several weeks ago, “Whatever you do, do not be on the Native American Reservation at night.”

What they were referring to, I understand.  While 95% of the Native Americans on the reservation are home at night cooking and watching television, there are hateful male Native Americans who get drunk or high at night, and then they go looking for white people to kill that might be out in the reservation, and aren’t supposed to be.  The Native American Reservation is a sovereign nation, and white people do not belong there, and they are going to enforce it, they don’t like white people anyway.

I was considering that I was on Bureau of Land Management land, and that I was allowed to be there, but a drunk or high group of Native American males would just be out to kill whoever they found out here.  It would have been better for me if I had deliberately hidden my vehicle and campsite so that it could not be seen from the road, but that would not be completely safe either because all people who go looking for things in the woods late at night use high power spot lights, and they shine right through bushes and trees to reveal shiny vehicles on the other side.  It also would have been safer for me if there was more than one vehicle at my camp, the least safe with just one vehicle.

I began to realize more and more that it would be very, very bad if two or three trucks with drunk Native Americans drove up.  Even if they initially didn’t act threatening as they approached, this would be in order to get right up to me, and I then would have a much harder time defending myself with multiple people surrounding me.

I realized that I was wrong and foolish in being there by myself, and not heeding the warning of a lifelong Killdeer farmer and my work supervisor.  I left at 12:00 midnight, and I was very anxious to get back to the main road.  Once back on the highway, and off the reservation, I pulled off the road and slept until 4:00 a.m.

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