Monday, August 22, 2016

Medora, AK -Maah Daah, Hey

Medora is such a fun walkable city - well, it’s small and the tourist sights are all pretty well in a 1 mile square area and there is a nice trail called the Maah Daah Hey. AND - get this - there are 3 (count them - 3) ice cream stores. What more could we ask for?

But ice cream is so old hat. Let’s talk about the Maah Daah Hey. It started out as our daily walk - right down the paved bike path out side the campground and back down the same path. No big deal. Pretty boring and I didn't need the camera nor hiking shoes. Yeah, right. As we approached the end of the paved bike trail we saw a kid on a bike coming out from the left in front of us. Hmmm. What’s that? Let’s see. And, there it was, a narrow track off into the hills above the town. What’s the harm? And thus started a beautiful trail, one of the best we’ve been on for a while. We decided that it was the Maah Daah Hey, a 100-mile bike trail through North Dakota that runs between Medora near the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt NP to the North Unit.

The term "Maah-Daah-Hey" comes from the Mandan Indian language meaning "Grandfather" and the trail symbol of a "Turtle" comes from the Lakota Indian’s symbolic meaning of long life and patience. The trail is absolutely beautiful, running through some awesome territory. If you are so inclined, you can enter the Maah Daah Hey 100 race. Me, I’m just hiking. Here you can see the trail heading off into the hills. Be quiet and you can hear it calling our names.
It meanders through these painted hills.

Then we saw this hard petrified sand hill and Gary dared me to climb it. Ha, ha. He knows me too well.
Not hard to climb but - getting down. Hmmm. With my balance? How about the 5-point stance: 2 feet, 2 hands and a - well you get the picture. The seat of my shorts was white when I finished.
At the bottom, I do my ‘happy dance’. Ha, ha, I showed him.
And then brush off my rear end.
And, that’s how I got down. I found 2 shells on my way down. Imagine, 2 shells. Not quite whole but must have been from an age when this area was under a sea of water.
We wondered why we were hiking over cow guards. Then we found out. a whole herd of black cattle started moving slowly over the hill in front of us. Difficult to see here since we took the picture with the iPhone but they are the black dots at the top of the hill over my left hand.
Towards the end we diverted off the trail since we knew we had to head north to get back to the campground. However, others had been this way so we were following a trail. We came over a slight hill and saw - a huge parking lot, the parking lot for the musical that runs every night in Medora. Funny, our trail through the hills where we’ve seen no one for hours, ends at - the most popular sight in North Dakota.
We walked through the parking lot, past all those who were coming up for dinner and the show. Must have wondered where we came from. We hardly looked like we were dressed for the show.

On the way down the hill, we came across the town cemetery. Town cemeteries are so interesting and this was no exception. This bench looked inviting.


Hubbard, who died in Medora in 1980, was the creator and director of Medora's Gold Seal Nature and Wildlife Museum, which housed an extensive collection of Indian artifacts. He homesteaded in Montana and learned as much as he could about his Mohawk roots. He became active in the Boy Scouts and wrote a section in the manual about Native Culture. Finally, he also created a museum at the Wounded Knee Reservation in South Dakota.

Here are two graves. One for Jean Neshiem and one for James Loren Neshiem. Both have long philosophical statements on them.
‘And if I hurt their pride with clumsiness
or break their hearts with thoughtlessness
I will heal them with respect
and mend them with my understanding
For I have learned to love mankind.

For I have learned that all the world’s peoples
are my peoples and all the world is one.’
William Riley Luffcey’s stone tells his sad story.

‘He was killed in an argument on June 26, 1883.
Marquis deMores had purchased land
for his cattle then closed old
hunting trails. A dispute ensued.
The Marquis was tried and acquitted
3 times. May years later another
man confessed to the killing.
His identity was never disclosed
due to his family’s wishes.’

Here’s one without a name. But those in town think that it refers to Joseph Doulisch who was injured when an earthen foundation fell on him at Medora on March 19, 1881 and who died of his injuries on April 3.
Edward Severson has a sad notoriety.
Then, back to the campground. Wish we had more time to explore this trail further.  Next time.

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