White Butte, N.D. (22 June 2003)

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    • #7365
      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Mark Stauter on June 26 2003 at 4:09 PM]

      On Sunday, 22 June 2003, I drove from Glasgow, Mont., to Aberdeen, S.D. (That’s the U.S.A., not Scotland!), and determined to “bag” White Butte in North Dakota on the way. It was my first visit to North Dakota, completing the 48 contiguous United States of my childhood. 😎

      White Butte is easy to find. Just take the famous gravel road two miles east of Amidon on US-85, for five miles south, and then a mile west to the Von Daele house. Fortunately I caught the Von Daeles just as they were leaving for church on Sunday morning. Mrs. Von Daele graciously accepted my $20 donation as an access fee, and we exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes before we all headed out. I was the first “high-pointer” that weekend.

      The access road toward the high point is a few hundred yards east of the Von Daele house. It is in reasonably good shape, although the vegetation in the median was getting pretty high after spring rains. At Mrs. Von Daele’s advice I drove a little past the ruins of the old farmhouse and parked on a grassy knoll. The road continues a couple hundred yards further, but it is in poorer condition past that point.

      White Butte is right in front of you, so there’s no problem figuring out how to hike to it. When you get to the intersection of the fence lines, carefully remove the wire loop-over on the gate on your right, and be sure to replace it after you’ve passed through. There is no excuse for not attending to this very simple task, and the livestock will stay where they are supposed to be. Then walk on the path just to the right of the north-south fence line to the butte. Once at the butte, start climbing, using an available path. The climb was a little more strenuous than I expected, because the worst part is hidden from view until you reach the first plateau of the butte. But, any reasonably fit person should be able to reach the summit without much difficulty. It was about a 20-25 minute walk from my car to the summit, and fortunately it was a cool, breezy day.

      At the summit there is the celebrated memorial to Leon Buzalzky, a metal box containing a register, and an excellent view. In June, at least, the vegetation is still green and the rugged “badlands” landscape is quite impressive. I also saw a lot of wildflowers on the hike, and I picked up a couple of ticks, so be careful in this regard. The renowned rattlesnakes were, thankfully, conspicuous by their absence.

      I did not see a convenient road over to southbound US-85, so I took the gravel road back five miles north. Be forewarned that the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 25 mph at Amidon, and on this Sunday morning one of Slope County’s finest was sitting in his patrol car in the shade near the city limits. I dodged the bullet on that one! Maybe he was impressed by how quickly I hit the brakes! 😎

      I believe this was high point #17 for me.

      Mark Stauter
      Rolla, Mo.

    • #7366

      speed trap

      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: -adam on June 27 2003 at 9:31 AM]

      I don’t know if the speed trap you mentioned was the same one I saw, but right at the town limits of Amidon coming from the east, there was an old patrol car parked, complete with a dummy officer. It was pretty obvious when I was there (Wed 6/18) that it was just a decoy, since the weeds had grown up around the car. But someone may have cut them down since.


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