Western North Dakota is a beautiful place and I don’t get out that way as often as I’d like. I live vicariously through Sabrina Ramey, Event Communications Coordinator at visitwilliston.com, who updates her social media feeds with gorgeous photos of her travels in and around Williston.
A few weeks ago, I asked her if she’d be willing to share some of her travels with us. She responded with this sweet story about her adventures exploring overlooked and abandoned places with one very special dog. It makes me smile.
All photos and words between this point and the bold comments at the end are provided by Sabrina Ramey.
Listening for birds at an abandoned homestead north of Williston, ND
A little over a year ago, I adopted a dog that disliked me on sight. The feeling was mutual.
He was a nervous little guy; still young but old enough that he wasn’t a cute puppy anymore. And he didn’t care to be picked up. He would snap or snarl if you got anywhere near his tail. My guess is he’d been picked up a lot at some point, and probably a few times by his tail. I couldn’t leave him, so he came home with me.
Over the next year, we found we had little in common, except that we both appreciate going to the bathroom indoors and we both yell a lot when we get excited. He gets excited all the time.
Circling Bethesda Lutheran Church in Williams County, ND
But there is one thing. I love a long drive any day. On those North Dakota dirt county roads, secondary highways, section line trails, it doesn’t matter. And when the road dead ends or becomes more of a rutted track than a road, then I like to get out of the car and walk. I take photos as I go. As it turns out, he loves it too.
Since spring, he has tagged along with me to explore lake beaches littered with driftwood, innumerable hedgerows, quiet country cemeteries and some lovely abandoned homesteads. We’ve sat down on a wooden merry-go-round well past its century mark at an old schoolhouse playground and watched the sun go down together.
Taking his leash, but not his owner. #WorstDogEver running free at a country schoolhouse in Williams County, ND
He is short, but leggy. Most of the places we visit are thick with long windblown prairie grasses. So he needs to leap through it like a deer over a fence just to see where he is going. Sometimes he is compelled to investigate a field cut to stubble.
He realized quickly that wheat stubble hits him in just the wrong place, and learned to follow the path between rows. It’s fun to watch; it looks like he is navigating a maze, especially when he gets to the end of a row and follows the curve the seeder took in the spring.
Lurking in the shadows: abandoned barn east of Williston, ND
He doesn’t always come when I call him, and he is always right in the camera frame when I do not call him. At the end of the day, when he is done running and I am done walking, we go home. Sometimes, if he is really tired, he will even let me pick him up and put him the car.
You can see more northwest North Dakota scenery and find sporadic episodes of the #WorstDogEver’s adventures on the @visitwilliston Instagram account.
Happiest when exploring: close-up of the #WorstDogEver
What about you?
What are your favorite places to explore?
What do you see and do when you’re in western North Dakota?
What’s on your western North Dakota bucket list?
What do you think of when you think of this part of the state?
Do you think of this part of the state?
Who is your favorite travel buddy?
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