We left Kadoka bright and early since we had changed time zone and getting up was easy. We headed off to Badlands National Park. From Native Americans to French fur traders, everyone has considered these lands ‘bad’. I assume what they meant is ‘corn cannot be grown on this surface’ and ‘isn’t it a pity cars haven’t been invented yet to traverse this otherwise lovely place’. In all seriousness, I am sure it was a very harrowing place to live in less than modern times, but today it is truly stunning. I had gone as a kid, but was happy to get to go back and take Chris. I don’t think he’d ever seen anything quite like it. He also got to get quite close to some rather bad ass sheep:
The visitors center in the Badlands allowed us to watch some scientists uncover fossils. It was such painstaking work. We got to be the third and fourth people to see a bit of bone unearthed for the first time in a very very long. Pretty cool. I was even more impressed with these people knowing that not only could they do such delicate work, they could do it while being watched and asked questions by potentially annoying strangers.
We went to Wall Drug for lunch. Wall is a bit of a tourist trap, but it was the only thing to eat for a while after the Badlands, so we stopped in and tried some buffalo burgers. I must say, we both prefer beef burgers.
Afterwards, we sped across the state (somewhat metaphorically, as we actually went the speed limit of 80 the whole time, but then, that is still fast) in the hopes of squeezing Mount Rushmore in that day. That was obviously mad but we did make it to Keystone.
Check out the video of the day with some amazing views of the Badlands: