I love the Badlands.
In small doses. I’ve only ever been in May-June and it gets damn hot. So I love the Badlands… for about 48 hours. Then it’s time for a shower!
And the Cedar Pass Restaurant near the Visitors Center has delicious frybread tacos. Yum!
My favorite hiking trail in the Badlands is called The Notch. I do have a fear of heights and this time it was a real challenge for me because I was worried about my center of balance being off because of the extra 25lbs I was carrying up front but I managed it.
There’s a meander through a shallow canyon following the path of a wet-weather stream bed.
Why was I carrying both the baby and the jackassalope? It was actually by choice, the hydration backpack actually helped me balance better.
I’ve found some great wildflowers in this area on past trips but this time I only took pictures of cacti. I don’t know why.
There’s a log ladder leading from the floor of the canyon up to the rim. In the picture below you can see it in the center, along with the line of people waiting to go up or down. We waited about ten minutes while a large group of people slowly climbed down single file until I got tired of waiting and climbed up the side. It was wide enough for two-way traffic and trail courtesy should have been to alternate letting people come up/climb down so lady who got huffy about it, deal with it. I wanted to get to the top so I could have my snack. Also, note the view of the horizon, this was around 3:45pm (15:45).
Wally and Cornwallis at the Notch, looking out over a sweeping vista of the Badlands.
Preggers at the notch. Eating. Of course.
The whole clan.
Okay, probably time to head back… oh. It’s looking a little dark back that way. (16:22)
Make that a lot dark. Better move.
The wind had REALLY picked up, and we could feel cooler gusts from the storm front. I was quite nervous going along the narrows on the canyon rim with the wind but having the hiking pole helped with stability. And knowing we needed to get off the canyon rim before the lightning got any closer, not to mention the rain would make the trail much more slippery.
We made it to the canyon floor before the rain started. The wind was channeling through the canyon and blowing the rain in to our faces, along with the dry top surface of the soil. We had to put our sunglasses on to protect our eyes because the dirt hurt where it hit your face and arms. We ran through the canyon as fast as we could manage to get back to the parking area. My sunglasses, arms and my whole front were covered in a thin sheen of pale mud but you have to laugh after a mad dash like that!
We finished our afternoon from the comfort (and safety) of the car. It was a beautiful storm.
The storm passed fairly quickly but I was ready for a rest before dinner so J decided to go for a trail run around (18:00) 6pm while I napped in the car.
Until he met this guy.
But I’ll let J tell that story.
We camped at a KOA because I really wanted to go swimming… but their pool was under renovation. But it was nice to have showers, especially after hiking in the storm and getting all muddied up.
The next day we drove the rest of the Badlands loop road.
Here we are at Panorama Point Overlook
The aptly named Yellow Mounds Overlook
We bid the Badlands adieu. Time to move on to Wall, SD.