Badlands…better late then never ;)

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So here I am in the Cedar Pass Campground in the Badlands National Park.  South Dakota could easily power their entire state with the amount and sun and wind they have here. Too bad the people in power love money and oil.

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I went to see Mount Rushmore Monument and Crazy Horse Monument this morning. I think I was more impressed with the Crazy Horse Monument because it is not funded by the government and it’s really something the Native Americans are creating to maintain their place in history. I guess I have more respect for that one, they are using the money they collect to educate Native Americans as well as work on the carving.  In the book I’ve been reading by Zinn, the People’s History of the United States, I’ve been reading the chapter on what we as a government/people did to the native Americans. And yes I knew we weren’t kind, but seeing the numbers and how we broke treaties before the ink was dry was disgusting and very depressing. Mount Rushmore was impressive for the artistry of the carvings, but maybe I’ve seen it so often in pictures that it just doesn’t appear as grand as I thought it would.

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So here I am waiting til tomorrow to go into Badlands National Park, the campground is officially part of the park but we are on the prairies more than inside where the actual park begins.  I’m surrounded by huge greyhound bus RVs…running their stupid generators or whatever they do to keep charged up.  Let’s just say it is loud and ruining the feel 😉  Unfortunately they don’t have to shut them off for another hour and twenty minutes….OMG! Just as I wrote that they turned it off 😉 Bugger! Now I can hear the other ones still running…but at least it isn’t as loud!

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It is supposed to have a thunder storm tonight and I’m contemplating putting a heavier tarp over my tent, but seriously with the wind here it is hard to keep anything tied down. I didn’t unwrap my sleeping bag because how it is only supposed to be like 63 tonight….not worth trying to reroll it and fit it back into it’s tiny bag 😉

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It’s kind of funny on this trip…I’m basically homeless, so my last day at a place is spent searching for wi-fi to figure out where I’m going next 😉 I’ve slept in my car I think 3 nights so far…and I think with Yellowstone being so busy and a first come first serve I’ll probably end up doing it again 😉 It’s kind of surprising to realize I’ve been on the road over a month now. It hasn’t really seemed that long, well except that I really need to find a barber to shave my head! I do miss chatting with everyone, I’m guessing Tech Services is really quiet without me there 😉 Today I found myself talking to my body parts…I was walking to a store when my left toe started hurting…so I asked it what could be bothering it since I haven’t done anything to it…then my right toe started to hurt…so I asked it oh you too??  I guess that is to be expected 😉 Though arguing with my GPS might be going too far 😉  It really likes taking me on state routes while I prefer interstates…so if I’m not paying attention it will revert to the one it wants! Which is what it did to me today on my way here.

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So far there have been animals to be aware of at each park…we’ve had bears, alligators, and here are rattlesnakes and bison 🙂 But I rarely see any animals, though a couple really odd looking yellow breasted birds just flew around my camp a few minutes ago. I tried taking pictures of birds in Rocky Mountains and learned a whole new appreciation for the patience those photographers have. When I was cooking dinner last week in the Rocky Mountains I was thinking to myself…here I’m leaving tomorrow and I haven’t seen hardly any wildlife.  I heard a noise and looked to my right and there was a little deer eating the grass between my tent and my neighbors, he was only like 20 feet away. He didn’t seem to concerned so I just kept cooking.

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Well next day here now…I’m sitting in my tent after exploring all day. First off the storm was a doozy! By a bad decision on my part my tent opening was facing south…which put the larger sides facing east and west. The storm came in hard and heavy from the west…didn’t get much sleep because the tarp kept coming loose on one side and I’d have to go tighten it down so I wouldn’t loose it 🙂 Then because the wind was hitting the side of my tent direct on and I’d forgotten to put the corner stakes out…I kept getting woken up with that side of the tent pressing against me. And this is not a small tent so it was basically collapsing one side of the tent.  So between flapping tarps, side of the tent collapsing and rain, thunder and lightning…I didn’t get much sleep. Around 5am I remembered the corner stakes SMH and got up and put them up on that side of the tent, helped tremendously 🙂 So I came out of the storm unscathed but just tired.

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So when I finally got up, I decided to take a drive around the park…supposedly they have a ‘loop’ where you can see a good portion of the park…just not into the southern section which is run as part of an active Indian reservation, I believe the Lakota. So I did a couple small trails and was impressed with the scenery.  It was like a really big outdoor Carlsbad Caverns. Which is kind of exactly what it is…I had no idea there was huge swaths of water millions of years ago in this area, but that is what caused the starting of this area as well as the high winds which shifted ash from volcanos and sediment from surrounding areas to create this crazy landscape. I read somewhere that they have used this park in some movies to represent alien landscapes and I can really see that. Personally I was more impressed by the sheer magnitude of this park…the grasslands as far as the eye can see were gorgeous. Then these crazy buttes…can’t imagine what first settlers thought when they saw these things.

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So I did climb a “moderate” listed trail at the Saddle Pass Trail, it was a straight up climb basically…took picture of my shoes on it so you guys know I actually climbed up that hill, look for the pictures before and after the pictures of my shoes to see the paths. After that I figured I’d done enough so just spent the rest of the day driving around looking at scenic overlooks and then over into the Sage Creek area where most of the wildlife was. Fell madly in love with the little Prairie Dogs…there must be a million of those little mounds where they dig their holes. And they would climb out of their hole and get on their back feet then chatter away at each other! They were really cute. I could have spent hours out there taking their pictures. The Bison weren’t real game to come near the road so I only got a couple pictures of them closer up…though I did see their huge prints in the mud where they wandered past the road a couple times. Maybe I’ll have better luck with bison at Yellowstone.  Remember more pictures are on my Facebook page…

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