Vacation – The Badlands, South Dakota

Vacation – The Badlands

 My boyfriend and I went on our first trip together in June of the year 2016.   We decided to go to Yellowstone National Park, and tent camp the entire trip.  We have been dating for six months at this time.

To be completely honest, I have never really been an outdoors kind-of girl.  I love being out side but I never enjoyed camping.  We would camp in our back yard as kids and I was always the first to go inside.  I’m not sure why I agreed to go tent camping but I was willing to give it a try.  

Our first night was in the Badlands of South Dakota.  I remember going there as a kid and it being desert like.  We went on that vacation around August.  In June, the Badlands are a sight to behold!  The clearest blue sky as far as the eye can see are the back drop to the rolling green grass that sways with the wind.  I was absolutely in awe of its beauty.  You can see layers and layers of the sedimentary rock.  Rock that has been there for millions of years.  It is unimaginable beauty.  It feels like you’re on a different planet!

We get there and the temperature is 98 degrees, incredibly hot.  The wind offers little relief.  I wonder if we will be able to sleep at all that evening.  We set up our tent and then decide to go for a short hike.  We drive to a location where there were no tourists.  

Five minutes in we pass this large boulder and I look to my right and there is a very large male RAM!  I suck in my breath and stop dead.  Dan almost walks right into me and says”what”, I point.  The Ram sees us and makes a sound.  I start walking ahead as fast as I can and Dan follows.  We try to take some pictures once we are what feels like a safe distance away.   “Holy Moly!”  Our first encounter with Wildlife!  

 We keep walking and arrive at what looks like a cove surrounded by this huge rock.  It actually looks like a giant litter box, poop was everywhere. We look around and check up into the rocks, we don’t see anymore Rams so we continue.  Being a tom-boy I want to climb up the rock and not continue on the trail.  I’m a little more adventurous, a risk taker and Dan is more observant and cautious.  But he follows me a little nervously.  We get up there and take some great photos.  As we start to climb down we look about 100 feet ahead and there is the Ram, just staring at us.  The rock is steep and we don’t have many ways to get down.  We find a way that goes a little off to the side of the Ram.  He moves toward us.  I can hear my heart pounding in may ears.  I really want to take a picture but I refuse to be that idiot taking a picture and getting charged by a wild animal at the same time.  We get down to the litter box.  He is right above us not more than 20 feet away.  He keeps and eye on us and we keep and eye on him.  I pick up a stick and keep it at my side, thinking, if he attacks maybe the stick will make him stop short, stupid.  Dan is right behind me, we both keep walking as fast as we can.  Finally we’re out of the litter box.  The Ram is still standing there watching us.  I’m sure he was just waiting for the nasty humans to get out of his toilet.  

Dan and I are giddy with adrenaline.  We can’t believe that just happened on our first day! I was kind of worried about what other adventures our vacation will behold. Bears were at the forefront of my thoughts.

 We walk back to the car, I think we were gone 30 minutes and we were soaked with sweat.  I walk to the bathrooms, nobody is there so I take a cold shower.  It offered plenty of relief.  Dan takes one next with my urging.  Not sure why I had to talk him into a cold shower when it was close to 100 degrees out.  That night we have beer and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.  Too hot to cook anything.  Once the sun was down the evening was cool and gorgeous.  We had a beautiful view of the moon and stars.  We were kind of hoping the moon wouldn’t be out so maybe we could see the Galaxy.  The moon provided too much light to see it.  That is one of the many beautiful things the Badlands are known for, Stargazing.   I was thinking of telling Dan I loved him that night as we lay watching the stars.  But my stubbornness prevented me from doing so.  I wanted him to speak the words first.  I knew he loved me and I think he knew I loved him as well.  

That night we both had little sleep.  The wind whips through the valley with so much force that the tent flaps back and forth constantly.  Half way through the night we get out and take off the cover.  We had a better view of the night sky that way and a lot less noise.   We had each others body for warmth so it ended up a lovely evening besides getting little sleep.  I don’t think any of the other tent campers slept as well that night. We could see lights in the tents.  I think the only ones who did sleep well were those in the RV’s.  Something to make note of if you decide to camp in the Badlands.

The next morning we packed up and headed to the Sacred Black Hills.

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