Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Badlands National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota

 

On September 28, we left Wyatt’s RV Park in Belle Fourche, SD and headed into the Black Hills. Wyatt’s is a pretty nice for an RV park. The sites are close together for us, but the place was almost empty while we were there. They are a Passport America park with a $20 rate. I am sure that Wyatt’s is jammed during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Sturgis is only about 15 miles away. Here is a shot of the park.

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We drove about 70 miles to Sheridan Lake Campground. We drove by Sturgis. All is quiet this time of year, but you could see the facilities that are packed when the rally is going on. Mike told me that this was a record year for attendance at the rally with an estimated 1.2 million people. Wow!

When we entered the Black Hills we drove right into a cloud bank. The temperature was in the 50’s and raining. We found an awesome site at Sheridan Lake. This is a USFS campground and is beautiful. We are right on a lake. We had no hookups, but the large site was $10 per night.

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You can see an arm of the lake behind the rig. Here is the view across the lake.

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This was one of our favorite sites of the entire trip. Kim is always about the view, so this is the view out the window.

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It was while I was sitting here reading, that we got the text from Shannon saying she was in labor and heading to the hospital. With that news our plans changed. We discussed the options including leaving the next morning and getting back to Missouri in 2-3 days. At about 11 that evening, we got the word that she was heading back home and it would be a bit longer. Kim does not want to miss the birth, so we decided to do just one day in the Badlands and the Black Hills and then head back to Missouri.

On September 29, we got up early and headed to the Badlands National Park. This was NP #20 for the trip. We drove east for about 70 miles to the entrance. Sections of land that are too rough to farm or to use for grazing are called “Badlands”. The formations reminded us of Bryce Canyon in Utah. We took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few samples:

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The colors were very interesting. We read all of the interpretive signs and learned about the geology of the area. Check out the yellow is these hills.

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I really like this shot:

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We did this park like most people on vacation do. We drove through and stopped at the overlooks. Then we went to the visitors center and watched the short film. We really enjoyed the visit, but it was time to go to get in some areas of Custer State Park that we wanted to visit. Our main focus was the Needles Highway. Our friends told us that it was a must see.

Needles Highway is not a highway at all. It is the tightest and most curvy paved road I can  remember ever driving. The aspens were beautiful and the rock formations were awesome.

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As we entered the park the clouds started to break up and we got some decent lighting for some better pictures.

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The star of the show is the “Needles”. They are the rock formations that are standing on end. They are awesome to look at.

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There were two tunnels that we had to pull in our mirrors to fit through.

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We made it to Sylvan lake. The lake is surrounded by these huge rocks. It was just stunning.

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I just wish the lighting was better, but I think you get the idea of this beautiful place. We got back to our campsite at about dark. It was a long day and lots of driving, but we are so glad that we got to see a few of the top sites in this area. We will need to come back to do this place justice. We will do that when we come back to see North Dakota.

When we got back to our campsite we had an amazing moon rise. I am not sure this picture captures it, but it was awesome. That is the moon with a reflection on the water of the lake.

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We got ready to leave the next morning. I was dreading the long hours of driving, but it will all be worth it when we get to see our new grand daughter. We had a very eventful trip with some fun and surprising things to see. Come back to see some wildlife shots and other cool stuff.

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