First up in the morning was the White Butte, North Dakota’s state high point. It stands at 3,506 feet, but only has 500 feet of prominence over the landscape. Still, that is plenty high enough to give a decent view over a rolling prairie. It was already 70 degrees at 6:30 in the morning, foreshadowing another scorching day for the Plains. It was a perfect temperature for our little hike though.

We had heard from numerous sources that White Butte was renowned for having a large rattlesnake population, which was another reason we wanted to start early, before all the snakes came out. Luckily, we did not see any, but who knows how many were hiding in the grass, just inches away. Better not to think about it. The butte was made up of primarily a chalky, white soil (the name makes sense right?). It was extremely slippery when wet, and since it had rained last night, we had a few slides.

There was a surprisingly well-defined trail the whole way. I thought the state high point of North Dakota would be low on just about everyone’s list, but apparently over 10 people had come just that week. Guess there are lots of crazy people like us out there! It took us a half hour to get to the highest point, where there was a summit register and a memorial to the person who had owned the property in the past. It’s still private property, and small donations in the rusty mailbox by the starting gate are a common courtesy.

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Route name

Van Daele Farm

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