South Dakota Part 1: The Badlands

Now I have not been many places, but of all the places I have been, I think South Dakota is at the top of the list.  I never thought that would be the case and it even looks odd typing it on the screen.  Could I live there? No. Would I visit again? In a heartbeat.

Our Journey into South Dakota started at the very end of a long day of driving that began in Green Bay and ended at a motel in Sioux Falls (about 550 miles). The motel was funky and the clientele questionable, but it was a decent enough place to lay our head. The next morning we toured the actual falls of Sioux Falls. It was a neat little area with some cool waterfalls flowing over rocks that are a color that I have never seen in the granite of NH.

From there it was about 280 miles to the Cedar Pass campground in the Badlands. The Badlands is an area of the state that used to be covered in water millions of years ago. As the water receded and the rivers, winds and time eroded the earth it left great sandstone mountains that are unlike anything I have ever seen. It was awe-inspiring and humbling. In the side of the sandstone formations you can see the passing of time – millions and millions and millions of years and there I stood drinking in the castle-like formations. When the sun went down, we were able to see a nearly full moon, Venus and Jupiter in the night sky along with countless other stars. It’s a place that inspires contemplation and this was yet another sublime moment… Forgive me if the cheese is a little thick here… Really though, there I was in this gorgeous, interminable landscape with my beloved wife, setting up camp, sipping a beer and just feeling alive in way I haven’t before. I don’t think I’m really even a strong enough writer to put this into words unfortunately, but if South Dakota isn’t on your bucket list, put it there soon.

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On our way out of the Badlands there were countless viewpoints we stopped to enjoy. From there we were headed to Mount Rushmore. We were staying at a KOA about 5 miles from the memorial and I was hoping that we wouldn’t pass Mount Rushmore because I wanted to enjoy it up close, rather than viewing it from the window of the car. Unfortunately my hopes were spoiled when we crested a hilly bend in the Black Hills to behold the faces of four great men staring down at us from a mountainside. I almost drove the car off the road…

In the interest of updating and posting some content I am going to pause here. I have more to say about SD, Rushmore and Crazy Horse, but I wanted to let you all know that we are in fact alive after being off the grid for a few days. I’m actually writing this from Tyler’s porch in the shadow of the Great Rocky Mountains, which we will be exploring tomorrow.

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