Melina Gunnett

July 5, 2011

Journey through the Badlands

Filed under: Photographs, Travel — Melina Gunnett @ 12:33 PM
Prairie Dogs

Warring!!! Only click on the above picture if you are prepared to endure oodles and oodles of cuteness.

I started yesterday in my own personal Badlands. Well, that may not be entirely true.  I wasn’t the only one staying at the hotel.  Let’s just say, should you happen to pull into the the parking lot at the Dakota Inn in Kadoka, stay there.  It will be more comfortable, smell better and you will have more privacy than you will checking into the actually hotel.  By the time I checked out (check out time is 10am) I was on peeved puppy.

Thankfully there doesn’t seem to many highway patrol on the long stretch of I-90.  I’m not sure what the speed limit was there,  but I’m sure it wasn’t anywhere near what I was driving.  I did feel a bit better by the time I made the turn off for the real badlands.

Then I stopped for gas, some thing to drink and tried to post my grievances to facebook.  Not enough cell service.  Just as well, I really shouldn’t be allowed to communicate with the rest of the world when I am still that mad.  I had been looking forward to the Badlands.  I had driven that particular stretch of I-90 before, but never had time to pull off and go through the park. I didn’t want to be in a foul mood for the trip, so I took a look around me to see what was there while I cooled my temper.

There were two attractions at that exit.  The minute man museum and a bunch of prairie dogs. Giant war toys probably weren’t the best solution so I went for an overdose of cuteness.  It worked.  How can you stay mad surrounded by all those cute little fuzzy guys.

After about an hour of playing with the prairie dog, I headed into the bad lands.  The views were spectacular.  I can only imagine what it was like for those first settlers.  They had probably spent weeks moving slowly across the grasslands and rumbling foothills of the great plains and then BAM! They were suddenly faced with high wind washed peaks and steep crags.  Not someplace a wagon is going to easily find a way across.

In the hot, high noon sun the cliffs were a stark white jutting up into the sky.  As the sun moved forward I could begin to see the shadows and crevasses that years of weather and scratched into them.  The peaks on the Northeastern side are mostly white clay, but as I moved further into the park I began to see the familiar copper bands that I associate with the badlands.

There is a convenient loop that circles the main part of the park allowing you to see these monuments to nature from all angles.  It wasn’t hard to picture the Duke riding through the hills in search for the brigands who had done him wrong.  You could view the plains below from the breath taking zeniths and stare up to the sun washed peaks as you journey around and through the park. For the more adventurous there are also some smaller dirt/gravel roads that cut through the park.  They are well maintained and if you have time (and I did) well worth taking.

The Badlands National Park

Click the image above for a slide show of the park

I finally ended my day with a visit to Wall Drug.  It is hard not to after watching their billboards pass by for a hundred miles or so.  Apparently neither could anyone else.  In spite of it taking up a city block, it was crowded.  The food there was good and in the very center, surrounded by souvenir and and gift shops, there actually is a drug store.

By the time I reached my hotel last night I had come through the Badlands, both physically and metaphorically and had a nice clean hotel waiting for me in Rapid City.  Now I’m off for another day of playing tourist and enjoying the scenery.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: