Blizzard Zach – the Grand Forks Herald decided to break from tradition and have the first blizzard have a name starting with a Z in order to honor the former Grand Forkian, Zach Parise, who scored his first NHL goal Wednesday night playing for the New Jersey Devils – largely skirted the Grand Forks area, but, if you’ve been paying attention to weather-related news, pounded northern and western North Dakota. The highest amount of snow that I’ve seen reported was 22 inches in Dunn Center, north of Dickinson, but a lot of other places around the Dickinson and Minot areas reported upwards of a foot of snow.
Grand Forks finally did get snowed on beginning at about 10 PM on Wednesday night, and, once the snow did start, it really came down hard. It snowed, I suppose, until about 2 AM, at which time about an inch had accumulated on the grass and rooftops of buildings. An article in the newspaper on Thursday mentioned that if the blizzard’s center of low pressure had managed to make its way about 100 miles farther south on Wednesday, the two inches of cold, sleet-like rain that fell all day in Grand Forks would have instead been 12-14 inches of snow. So, basically, Grand Forks narrowly missed taking part in the very unusual, unprecedented early October snowstorm.
The fact that places in the vicinity of Dickinson got most of the snow is a very nice segue to the pictures I wanted to present. You see, I visited the small towns between Bismarck and Dickinson last Saturday – on a day where all the temperatures were in the low 90s. Just four days later, the same cities were buried under 9, 12, and, in the case of Hebron (HEE-bron), 18 inches of snow.
I contend that southwestern North Dakota is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. These pictures explain why...
This is the railroad bridge crossing the Missouri between Bismarck and Mandan
The scenery changes abruptly once you've gone over the Missouri; this is a scene just a few miles west of Mandan
North Dakota highway 31, just north of New Salem
New Salem's tourist attraction is "the world's largest holstein cow," Salem Sou, which is located atop a large butte just north of the city. Here are photos of the magnificent views from the butte:
The city of New Salem
Salem Sou has a wonderful view looking north
This is Salem Sou and the butte she is on at a distance
Interstate 94 is a pretty lonely road in this part of North Dakota
There are some nice buttes off in the distance near Glen Ullin
A very lonely hillside
That little black thing off in the distance is a short train
I liked this sign "welcoming" visitors to Glen Ullin
I think this is a flax field near Dengate
A train breaks the deafening silence near Dengate
This is North Dakota's state capitol, with some nice fall colors surrounding it
Closeup of the capitol
One of the newer housing developments in the hills surrounding Bismarck
That's the interstate 94 bridge crossing the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan
I like the colors of the trees in this photo
I also like the colors in this photo
Much farther east in North Dakota, near Jamestown, there are numerous small "lakes"
I like the contrasts in this picture; you have a tan wheat field, green grass, blue water, and symmetrical power poles, among other things
Having gone on this little "mini-trip," I do believe that I have found the place that I want to go to on vacation next year. Not only would I like to see more of southwestern North Dakota, but I would also like to once again tour eastern Montana between, oh, Glendive and Billings. The last time I saw this countryside, I had a broken leg, and consequently, I did not have all that good of an experience.