June 7th–8th, 2018
Leaving Minnesota, we knew it was going to be a long drive to our next stop, The Badlands. We had discussed making a stop just short of The Badlands for a night, but when we hit the road we became determined to make it all the way.
It was a long day, but we managed to make it to Wall, SD around 5:30 PM. We stopped in at Wall Drug (a semi-famous pit-stop/tourist trap outside of the Badlands) and walked through some of the shops. While walking around, we spotted an ugly little Jackalope that we knew belonged on the journey with us. We named him Terry and found him a spot on the dashboard of our car.
We didn’t linger too long in Wall, and we were soon on our way out to see if we could snag a camping spot in The Badlands. The drive out was spectacular. There was a storm blowing in, and it was golden hour. There were fields full of prairie dogs, and a couple of bison near the road.
We lucked out at the campsite and managed to grab one of the last available spots. After setting up our tent and eating a quick dinner, there was still enough daylight for a quick hike near the campsite. The sunset was gorgeous, and there was a bison laying down about 20 feet off the trail. What a great way to start our western leg of our trip.
I stayed up a little later than Kinsey that night and watched some storms rolling through in the distance. The stars were also exceptionally clear. It has been awhile since I’ve seen the stars without the lights of the city interfering.
We got a little bit of a late start the next morning and headed out to view some of the natural formations of the badlands.
The views were otherworldly. The formations seemed like they would be more fitting on Mars than they are in South Dakota. We were able to spot some bighorn sheep within the formations, and a few laying down in the grass by the side of the road. We were thinking about taking a hike, but the weather was a bit too hot and the sun a bit too high for our tastes so we decided to hit the road towards the Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, and Crazy Horse monument.
It was a quick drive, but the landscape changed quite significantly from dry prairie to wooded mountains. We stopped for a quick photo of Mt Rushmore and a short tour of the Crazy Horse monument facility. The lighting was good for both, but we didn’t linger too long at either. It was time to hit the road for Casper, Wyoming to do some camping and fishing.
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