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What quote am I vibing? “The Bad Lands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth." Theodore Roosevelt

Road Day: 25

National Parks Visited: 4 (Badlands National Park)

Trail Hiked: Notch Trail (Badlands National Park). 1.33 miles. Elevation Change: 125 feet. Trail Surface: Badlands - hilly, rocky, "treacherous"ish

This morning I got up and on the road AHEAD OF SCHEDULE to see the Badlands. Kim, my host, gave me a tip to take Rte 44 rather than 90, which is a more scenic route, and she let me know it was my best chance to see buffalo. It was the prettiest drive, transitioning from bison grasslands to badlands -- but I didn't see any buffalo (she gave me a hint to see some another day in Custer State Park.)

After checking in with the park rangers at the Ben Reifel visitor center, I decided that the hike I would take would be the Notch Trail. The description was exciting - a steep log ladder, and treacherous terrain. In the end, the log ladder required me to use all four of my limbs for the top part, but it wasn't terribly steep. I never felt in danger. A bit of scrambling around cliff sides, but again, nothing too heart-stopping. But the views!! Just stunning. Again, with these vistas - they never end and they're so surprising. In shape and color.

What Teddy said about Badlands in my quote is right - you feel like some parts of the park are not of this earth - there was a time I rounded a bend and thought that this must be what Mars looks like.

I drove the entire loop, and part of Sage Creek Rim Road which is not paved, and has ridges that made me worried for my low-to-the-ground little car, so I didn't do that entire route. I made stops at Yellow Mounds Overlook, Pinnacles Overlook, and Badlands Wilderness Overlook.

I have another adventure this evening, and I'm trying not to overdo it, because I have miles to go and millions of things to see, so I drove to Wall around noon for lunch, and ate at the famous tourist extravaganza - Wall Drug! They've been offering free ice water to weary travelers since 1931. Since I didn't see any buffalo in my travels, I decided to eat one. That's how hard 25 days on the road has made me.

Another blog arriving this evening! Gotta go.

Kind stranger took my photo at the pinnacle of Notch Trail.

Wow, what a treacherous ladder.



And more Badlands

Yellow Mounds

I don't know. More Badlands.

If you can't join them, eat them. Buffalo.

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