We started the morning at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The visitor center at the Mt Rushmore had a really interesting exhibit that had letters protesting the original idea of this monument. Paraphrasing a lot, just because we can do something epic, doesn't mean we should sacrifice the beauty of the natural world.
We left Mount Rushmore and headed to Badlands National Park. Badlands is one of the places that I can just barely remember from family vacations a million years ago, but it's a place the us often fondly remembered by my family members. I've always want to visit again.
|You can just barely make out the bison to the right in the distance|
|Bison, Prairie Dogs, and the HodgePod at Sage Creek Campground|
Leaving the highway and taking a 12 mile long bumpy drive down a gravel road, we set up camp at Sage Creek Campground. It's an odd campground. There's a big gravel road loop without defined sites. People just park along the loop, and set up camp in the middle (or in their parked camper). It is very windy, dusty, and without utilities, but it is free! Also, there are free roaming bison and prairie dogs all over it. The photo above captures our bison, prairie dogs, and our camper all the way on the right in the background. After lunch, we hopped back in the truck and took the road that runs all the way through the Badlands.
One of our first stops along the Badlands Loop Road was Roberts Prairie Dog Town, a historic homestead that has been colonized by black-tailed prairie dogs. In the video below, you can hear a rather agitated prairie dog, and if you squint, you might be able to see him in the middle of the frame, before he disappears down the hole. My apologies for the noisy wind.
There was also one very large prairie dog that seemed entirely unconcerned by us. It was rather odd.
Then we drove on, into the spectacular weirdness that is the Badlands.
We finally saw some long horn sheep!
And we took the fossil walk, where we only seemed to take picture of the interpretative signage, which was very well done. Especially the one that described the squid-snail that was once bigger than a person.
And we enjoyed the swallows.
Then we looped back to the campground and Doug stalked the prairie dogs for a while. Prepare yourself for adorableness.
And, of course, some more bison.
Ever since arriving in California, Doug has been spying these birds. We finally got a photo so that we could identify them as magpies.
And we fell asleep to the calls of coyote. It was flipping awesome.
Up Next, Part 29