Thursday, August 25, 2011

South Dakota Badlands

We took a drive thru the South Dakota Badlands yesterday. What an amazing area. One side of the road could be prairie and the other side towering rock formations or deep canyons. It's hard to describe, but on most of the rocks and canyons as you get close to them, look like they are covered in clay. If you have ever seen a birdsnest that is made out of clay, that is what they look like up close. The wildlife was abundant. We saw a herd of wild buffalo out in the distance and hoped they would come closer. As we drove along the road, we kept seeing more and more and finally, they were right off the road. The herd in the Badlands is estimated around 800 strong.

The little prairie dogs were fun to watch as they scampered around and issued their warning chirps when you got too close. As we exited the park on the south end and headed back to the interstate, we came across a little store that had hundreds of the little critters around. Unsalted peanuts were their favorite food and for 50 cents, you could buy a bag and walk out into their little colony and hand feed them. Funny little things.

Our last stop before heading back to Wall, was to an abandoned Minute Man rocket silo from the Cold War Era. It's decomissioned now, but under the protection of the National Park Service. We were'nt able to get the underground tour, but could look down thru the glass cover and see the missle replica. I always thought the command center for the missle was where the missle was, but it is several miles away. According to the information that was given to us, even though these are decomissioned, there are still hundreds that are active throughout the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas,Wyoming and New Mexico.

Off today to the Black Hills for 4 days (give or take).

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