Compass: The Gulch

This week, we’ll focus more on a favorite memory of mine. The memory we’ll be discussing has its origins long before I was born.


Both of my parents attended Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota as did my youth pastor and his wife. My parents tell us all kinds of stories about their college days. Long story short, my siblings and I have heard stories as crazy as they can get with it being a bible college. A specific place they have told us about is the Gulch.

The official name of this “cool-kid hot-spot “ is Johnson’s Gulch. It’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere and the only buildings around are farms. Like you would expect in North Dakota, the land is so flat you can see for miles. The picture included is of the road sign and you can see the scenery behind it.

My family, coming from reuniting with old college friends and taking a quick tour of the school, drove to the Gulch. Us kids wanted to picture the place the next time they shared a memory, so we took a few minutes out of our day to visit it.

We pulled our van up the small hill and parked in front of a massive rock. The rock had a plaque on it that explained what Johnson’s Gulch was. My family noticed a small pathway on the right side of the hill, so we followed it. We visited the Gulch in August, so there were summer flowers blooming in the long grass and the breeze was refreshing. As we walked down the dirt path, we eventually came to a fence, but we noticed a small hole by a post, so we shimmied through it. There were many cow-pies and we eventually realize that since my parents had left college, someone had turned the Gulch into a pasture! We decided to make our visit quick as we scurried to a section under the trees that had a fire pit, sitting logs, and beer cans littering the ground. We sat down and my parents told us a few of their treasured memories and we realized that my father had put up a tree swing many years ago. We decided to find it.

Two of my younger siblings and my dad wandered the sparse woods searching to the rope swing; I stuck with my mom and baby brother. After a few minutes, we decided that in almost 20 years, it was a safe bet to assume it had been taken down. Nonetheless, we had fun as a family, laughing and recalling memories. After our Gulch adventure, we hiked back up the hill, took a few pictures on the massive rock, and left. It was really neat to see the place my parents thrived in when they were only a few years older than me.

The past few weeks, I’ve been discussing tourist points and fun times I’ve had there, but this week, I have a different point. The Gulch was not a highly populated area and Trinity was not a sought after place, but my family had fun anyway. What is the purpose of this week's article, you may ask? Find the memories in the unexpected moments.

Thanks for traveling the country with me!