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What is your favorite summer recreation in North Dakota and why?

My favorite summer recreation in North Dakota is going to rummage sales. Such sales are everywhere – farmsteads, small towns and cities. The Highway 21 Treasure Hunt includes more than 100 sales along a 100-mile route, starting east in St. Anthony and ending west in New England.

The Highway 21 Treasure Hunt is a two-day event, as one travels from town-to-town, meeting people, driving on a highway lined with pastures, or visiting places we’ve only heard about on the weather report.

Many smaller citywide rummage sales also team with the business or church communities. For example, the Towner citywide sale is held on the same day as the Catholic church salad luncheon. Some of us drive our golf carts to the sales, but we take time to socialize and eat at the salad luncheon at noon.

In large cities, I park my car and walk from sale to sale. I enjoy the shopping, but also view some really neat yard and home ideas and am amazed at the variety of garages and the quantity of items for sale.

There is quite a bit of walking required for rummage sales, which makes it a healthy activity. Since I like to shop with others, we find lots of treasures and have lots of giggles as we attempt to pack one more item into the vehicle.

In addition, we feel like good neighbors as we help the sellers get rid of items they just don’t need anymore. I guess we shoppers are joyously engaged in helping the environment as we reuse, repurpose and recycle.

Sharon St. Aubin
Member of Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative

North Dakota is notorious for its harsh winters. The joke goes, “There are two seasons in North Dakota, summer and winter.” So yes, summer can be relatively short in North Dakota, which is why I believe most North Dakotans live it with gusto, including me.

While I enjoy many different summertime activities – gardening, biking, hiking and fishing – my most favorite is camping. I’ve been camping with my family since I was young and it’s something that I’ve carried into adulthood.

The only camping style I know is “roughing it.” I remember my dad making pancakes on the old cast-iron griddle over the campfire. We kids had to haul water to our tent from the only potable spigot in the primitive campsite. At the end of the day, we washed with a bar of soap at the edge of the lake. Then there were the campfires – the glow of coals while hearing owls’ hoots echoing low through the trees.

For me, camping is both relaxing and rejuvenating. I still enjoy the challenge of fending for myself without all the comforts of home. “It builds character,” my dad used to say, along with something about learning life skills.

Camping also connects me to nature and the great outdoors. And North Dakota isn’t shy of beautiful places to camp, from Medora to the Turtle Mountains to the Red River. I’ve camped at many of them and plan on a few more this year when we get to enjoy our few months of summer fun.

Susan Schmitt
Member of Slope Electric Cooperative

My favorite summer recreation in North Dakota is the community theater in Rugby. Ever since my first musical with Village Arts at the age of 11 years old, I've loved performing in the plays it produces every summer. There’s something beautiful about being part of a group like that.

On the first day of practice, everyone is a stranger. But by the end of the month, we become a team. It’s also a lot of hard work, and there is a lot of learning involved.

I am a person who loves summer vacation at first, but after a couple weeks have passed, I slowly slide into a frustrating boredom. Being involved with theater doesn't give you any time to be bored. There’s always something to do, something to sing, or something to help with.

I like being occupied with things I enjoy doing. It keeps me happy and allows me to expand upon skills, like acting and singing. The Village Arts theater productions are always the highlight of my summers, and I am forever grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in several musicals.

Leona Petrovic
Parents are served by Verendrye Electric Cooperative

My favorite summer pastime has always been horseback riding. I love riding through the hills behind my parents’ home in the early spring, when the earth is coming to life again. I love watching the leaves growing on the trees, starting so small that when you look at a grove you think, “Is it green? It looks like those trees have a hint of green!”

I love racing my horse through the trees and smelling their scent. How do I describe the smell of new poplar trees, or of tall cottonwoods? It is something that you must experience for yourself!
This summer, I am not racing through my parents’ pastures. Instead, I will be growing bigger with a small baby preparing to be born. So, I think that this summer my favorite pastime will have to be something more sedate – gardening!

Kate Karges
Member of Roughrider Electric Cooperative

My favorite summer recreation in North Dakota is pontooning on beautiful Lake Metigoshe. I have been spending time at Metigoshe since the late 1940s, when I began visiting with my grandparents. Back then, we had no running water, electricity or phone service. Out boat was an old, heavy wooden boat, powered by an old one-horsepower outboard. If there was any wind, one had to row and use the motor if going into the wind. Once we turned around, we could relax and enjoy the ride.

As years went by, and boats became more prevalent, with much larger engines, I would occasionally be able to ride with friends in faster boats. In time, pontoons started to appear. At first, I thought I would never want to have one of them, as they did not go fast like some of the other boats. Finally, after starting a family, I rented one for a day. What a treat! We made a lunch and traveled the entire shoreline, including the Canadian shores on the north end of the lake.

Finally, I bought one for my family. Now, being retired with grandchildren of my own, I look forward to late afternoon cruises with my family and friends. Nothing is more beautiful and peaceful than cruising the lake and watching the sun set on the lake. I can’t wait to get back up there for the season.

Donald Cameron
Member of North Central Electric Cooperative

My favorite summer recreation is rock sitting. It is definitely a summer sport. I’ve tried sitting on rocks in the winter, but it’s sort of like licking the flagpole – once is enough.

First, there is the “Book Rock.” This one fits like a living room chair. What a wonderful place to sit with a book and several cats, looking up occasionally to drink in “my beautiful view.” Then there is the “Alta Rock.” This one requires a short jaunt into the pasture, through the creek and up a hill. It’s where I go to do serious business with God, far from the madding crowd. Peace reigns there, and seeps into me if I let it. It includes a bird’s-eye view of the farm. Looking from above helps keep things in perspective.

There are other rocks not visited as often. The “Love Seat” rock has room for two and is terraced into a sidehill overlooking a pond. (By midsummer, the pond turns into a gray crusty patch, so the romance of the love seat is seriously diminished.) The “Table Rock” is a flat circular rock sitting flush with the ground. A perfect place for a picnic.

I feel for the farmers and ranchers who wrested these monsters from the land. I appreciate that not everyone loves large rocks, and for good reason. But for me, they are one of the best parts of summer!

Marilou Uecker
Member of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative

We are the parents of three adult children. When they were young, we celebrated the July 4 holiday at our neighbor’s cabin at Blacktail Dam. We loved playing in the water on the paddleboat, exploring the golf course and the glorious evening fireworks. On top of that, we enjoyed each other’s company, and lots of meals and snacking. The entire family was thrilled when these same neighbors offered to sell their cabin to us.

Our family favorite North Dakota memory is time at Blacktail Dam! We enter the cabin and are surrounded by fun family memories, photos of making the fire pit, various family members who visited, and artwork created by visitors. In addition, we love spending time on the water on the pontoon and in the paddleboat. Homemade s’mores end most days.

At the end of the day, we have enjoyed years of the best fireworks displays imaginable. The July 4 fireworks displays are something everyone should get to experience. God bless America, and our wonderful memories. Come see for yourselves!

Kathy Binde
Member of Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative