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Page 14 of 35

Read online @ B A K K E N O I L B I Z . C O M / d i g i t a l - j o u r n a l 15 I found myself under a canopy of beautiful fall foliage. Anyone who knows anything about west- ern North Dakota knows that trees aren't exactly plentiful, so this was a welcome surprise. "Why was This Road called "Scairt Woman?" The drive was a delightful path filled with rolling prairie grasslands along with rugged portions of the badlands. After driving for nearly an hour, the only human life I encountered was a rancher bringing his cattle in to give them an af- ternoon treat. I was beginning to wonder exactly where this road was going to take me and why it was called "Scairt Wom- an?" Off in the distance was a workover rig, so I knew I couldn't be too far off the beaten path, but there were still no signs of human life or an end to this road. The road became narrower; more like a prairie dirt road that had long since seen any amount of traffic. The path veered down into a deep valley with unbelievable views of different color grasses along with jagged buttes and beautiful blue skies. My anticipation was peaking when at the next turn I realized the path was literally ending at an aban- doned well site from the 80's oil-boom. I drove on to the site, and sat there for sev- eral minutes just looking at this incredible valley. Overwhelming Gratitude Flooded my Heart Everything was so still. My heartbeat slowed and the peacefulness of the scen- ery silenced my mind. Once the internal noise disappeared, a feeling of over- whelming gratitude flooded my heart. I gave thanks to God knowing there are no guarantees in life. Knowing that ev- erything that has happened to me has shaped who I am today. I have so much to be thankful for. As I prepared to drive back the same way I came, I stopped a few times just to take it all in and of course snap a few photos. The Little Missouri National Grasslands is the largest grasslands in the country with over a million acres. It encompasses The- odore Roosevelt National Park ranging all the way from the North Unit south of Watford City past Medora on I-94. Scairt Woman Road runs right by the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which is con- sidered North Dakota's best kept secret. This 150-mile trail is consid- ered to have some of the best single track in the world. Maybe I'll rent a mountain bike this sum- mer and make that my next story! Time to Reflect As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm reminding myself that life doesn't always give us what we want. Often times, it's what we need. And whether we like it or not, it is in those moments of silence, like my experience on the Scairt Woman Road, that our true journey is revealed. When was the last time you took a detour and turned down the noise of the everyday world? A trip to western North Dakota might be exactly what your spirit needs. "Listen to the wind, It talks. Listen to the si- lence, It speaks. Listen to your heart, It knows" Native American proverb. ■ All photos by Renae Mitchell, Follow her on Twitter @RenaeCartierM Renae Mitchell -

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