It's Friday before Labor day. 1:00 pm. I've got a 6:30 flight to Vegas tonight, and, in the meantime, I'm not feeling this work thing. So, I figure it's the perfect time to post the second installment of my recent trip report.
Whence we last left off, it was Monday night, at a Fairfield Inn on the outskirts of Rapid "City," South Dakota, having just had a delightful meal at the local Appleby's. Not quite ready to call it a night, I proceeded to the hotel bar, which was attached to an indoor water park, to grab another adult libation. To my surprise, I entered and found a row of Video Poker machines. Say what? Hard as it was, I resisted their siren's call, determined to spend a week on the road sans gambling in any form (I'm not an addict, [yo]u see . . .). Except, of course, for the three weekend bets I had placed on the Rockies simply as a "reverse hex" to ensure a Mets' sweep. That doesn't count. In any event, I ordered a tall Miller Lite to go, and headed back to my room to plan the morning's hikes.
The alarm went off at 5:30 am Tuesday. By 6:00, we were downstairs "enjoying" the Fairfield free breakfast, which consisted of muffins, bagels, cereal, powdered eggs and what was purportedly described as sausage. I don't eat carbs, so that left the powdered eggs and grayish links of . . . "pork." Both proved to be inedible, so I settled for a Muscle Milk on the hour drive East to Interior, South Dakota, a town, population 96, which serves as an entrance to the badlands.
I believe the badlands is called the "Devils Playground," because of the geography. Or, maybe I just made that up. I'm not sure. But, it is certainly a unique landscape.
We parked the car, grabbed some waters and protein bars, and set out into the park for a 6.5 mile hike. The trail leading in is pictured below:
We tried scaling some of the cliffs, but the rock, or whatever it is, is like soft clay, and largely crumbles from beneath you, making any type of real accent treacherous.
The Badlands turned out to be a mix of grasslands and rocky terrain.
Wild life roamed about. Here, we walked up on some goats . . . or long-horned sheep . . . or rams . . . or some shit. Ahhh, Nature.
This was, perhaps, the most dramatic view of the Badlands:
Seemed an appropriate selfie spot (yes, I hate myself for having taken this shot).
After finishing the hike, we got back in the car, and drove to another area of the park, known as Sage Creek, which was accessible only down a dirt road. We saw a lone buffalo (which was somewhat exciting . . . until, of course, we later hit yellowstone where bison nearly outnumber people . . .), and a shit-ton of prairie dogs. Eventually, we found an area to park the car, and decided to get out and see the park on foot.
There were no trails in this area of Sage Creek. Just open land. But, the guide book we had purchased indicated the Park Service "encouraged visitors to hike off the trails." Um. Ok. So, we decended down a hill and started walking.
The landscape of Sage Creek was different than the previous areas of the park.
We explored for an hour or so, before heading back to the car. We were exhausted. And there was other exciting shit to see in the area before making the 5 hour drive west to Sheridan, Wyoming, our stop for the night.
[Next up - The Road to Yellowstone]