Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our Trip West | South Dakota - July 13, 2013

I have been avoiding starting these posts because there are so many photos and stories to tell I know it will take me a while to finish, but I love looking back at old trips so it's worth the time and effort to document this trip.

Last year was the summer of camping, we didn't go on any big trips but we did visit at least 10 state parks in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This year we knew we wanted to do a big trip, I mentioned Glacier National Park in Montana to Patrick and we easily decided that was our big trip for the year. We picked out a week that worked well for both of us and took that time off, but didn't plan much beyond that. Once the trip got closer we decided that we would take the longer less boring route through South Dakota on the way to Glacier and on the way home take the shorter boring route through North Dakota. Also about a week before our trip we got serious and made a very extensive packing list. Good thing we have no children because we even brought the Explorer and there was no room for additional things or people:)

On Saturday July 13th we woke up around 6am and we were on the road by 7am after a quick stop for ice and Caribou.

Caribou

Our first stop on the trip was in Pipestone, MN. We stopped at the Pipestone Monument. This is about as exciting as it got there. We seriously still don't know what is the monument part.

Pipestone

Our next stop was much more eventful. We stopped in Mitchell, South Dakota around lunch time to see the Corn Palace. We ate lunch at a little place called the Depot. We had bloody mary's and split a bison burger and fries. The best way to start off vacation.

The Depot - Mitchell, SD

I had been to the corn palace when I was a kid and I don't think it's changed much since then. Not too exciting but they do change the corn art outside yearly, so when you are inside they have photos of how it has evolved over the years.

Mitchell Corn Palace

Mitchell Corn Palace

Mitchell Corn Palace

Around 7pm we arrived in Wall, South Dakota. Patrick had never been to Wall Drug, so we stopped there and checked out a few of the stores and got some ice cream before we headed to Badlands to camp for the night.

Wall Drug

Wall Drug

Wall Drug

We arrived in the Badlands National Park just as the sun was starting to set. Our total time in the park was less than 12 hours and we saw tons of bison, prairie dogs and antelope.

Badlands

Wall Drug

Badlands & Mountain Goat

Bison in Badlands

Bison in Badlands

After a 20 minute drive down a gravel road we arrived at the Sage Creek Campground. It was the strangest campground I have ever been to. Absolutely no trees, just a wide open space with picnic tables scattered throughout. By the time we got there we were losing daylight fast, so Patrick got to work on dinner and I set up the tent. Our dinner that night was veggies with salsa and hummus and sausage on the grill. It ended up taking a long time to cook, so we had to break out our headlights to eat our dinner.

Tent at Badlands

Dinner at Badlands

This was probably one of the most uncomfortable nights sleeping of the whole trip. The whole night the rain fly on the tent was whipping around like there was a tornado coming through and to make it worse it was super hot. Temperatures during the day were in the 90's, so I am sure it didn't cool off much from that.

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