Our overview of Elkhorn Ranch left out a pretty important detail. After driving for about an hour on backcountry dirt roads, we arrived to find an empty parking lot, except for one car. It was a big white truck with a green stripe that said “U.S. Park Ranger.” It looked like the car had been abandoned, because the back left tire was so flat that the lack of someone being near the car suggested that it had been left behind.
We shrugged and continued on the trail to Teddy Roosevelt's North Dakota ranch. Large foundation stones and one rusting pipe were the only things that remained. The river that used to be right next to the house had meandered 50 yards away, but it was still surrounded by cottonwoods. We basked in the shade and then saw a park ranger. He was walking away from us and we tried to walk loudly and followed him for 30 or 40 yards, hoping to let him know about his tire. He didn’t see us and went over a barbwire fence before disappearing into the brush. Was he real? Were we seeing things? We continued exploring and taking pictures; he reappeared. We exchanged hellos, he was real and he had a tick on his olive-colored uniform. We let him know about the tick and the tire. He seemed unconcerned, we talked about the ranch and he returned to the parking lot.
We moseyed a bit longer and returned to find that he was working on changing his tire, but was without the necessary jack to lift the car. He radioed in to ask where it was and found out that one of his colleagues had recently removed it from the truck. We had the spare part and while Trevor began working on the tire I took on the role of photographer and videographer. I tried to capture the drama, the story and the actors of this incredible moment….and with that we give you “How to Make Friends with a Park Ranger”
Please note, that the Ranger was awesome, he offered us Gatorade and even let Trevor take a picture with his sweet hat. Enjoy the video!