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Dakota Prairie Food Pantry

November 13, 2013

North Dakota – Sunday, November 3

Devils Lake is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota, and a Sioux legend tells a story of the Great Spirit who drowned a war party in the lake after they attempted a forbidden night attack. Because of that, the Sioux named the lake Minnewaukan Seche, which meant “spirit waters.” The white people interpreted this as “Lake of the Evil Spirit” and it was later shortened to Devils Lake. I drove some of the lake while driving out to Sullys Hill National Wildlife Preserve, where I set off on a 3+ mile walk on the narrow little loop road around the preserve. In the end, that was probably not the wisest choice of a walking trail, although when I walked around, all I saw was a big bull elk crossing the road way far ahead.  I didn’t have Tula with me for that walk (her hind leg still seems to be bothering her a bit and I’m going to talk with a vet tomorrow), so when I got back to the car I took her on a short walk on a trail by the lake. Tula gets around just fine and doesn’t seem to be in pain, but she does hop now and then, and that’s what I want to get checked out. So I’m limiting her walking.  On my way out of the preserve, I drove around the same loop road I had just walked, and within the first half mile, I came to a large herd of buffalo what were blocking the road. I would certainly have retreated if I’d seen them while I was walking, and that’s when I realized maybe the road was meant more for cars and not pedestrians and bikes! I got fairly close to the herd and just stopped and enjoyed watching them. The babies were were so soft and fuzzy looking – I could almost reach out and touch one.  They ignored me – perhaps they’re used to cars. Finally they began to lumber away and I continued along the one-way road.

I returned to the town of Devils Lake and walked another mile along streets that were mostly deserted because it was a Sunday. I passed the Dakota Prairie Community Action Center, and I had called them on Friday about making a donation to their food pantry program, and happened to catch the lady who was the director of the food pantry. The Dakota Prairie Community Action Center has numerous programs to help people who are struggling, and she said they would most certainly appreciate a donation, but they’re not open on weekends, so she said I could just mail in a check and specify that I wanted it to go toward the food pantry. So that’s what I did. I wanted to make a donation here simply because I like the Dakota Prairie name, and the fact that I’d seen so much of the Dakota prairies and that they were home to past generations on both sides of my family.

Then I started heading east. I stopped in the town of Lakota, North Dakota and walked almost 2 more miles. Then I drove for a while longer and came to Grand Forks, a major agricultural town along the Red River of the North – a river I’d never heard of before. I found the greenway along the river,  and walked almost 4 1/2 miles along the water as darkness fell – it was a really pretty walk. They have a floodwall to protect part of the city, and a marker that shows the height of flooding during numerous floods. Once again, I simply couldn’t comprehend how the river I was looking down on could rise so high above my head. It was dark when I finished my walk, and altogether today I covered 11 miles, which helped make up for the shortfall earlier in the week. I headed south to Fargo where I stopped for the night.


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