Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Final day in South Dakota - Badlands and Wall

Our last day in South Dakota was a fabulous day in the Badlands!  On the way east, we stopped off in Wall, SD to the home of the infamous Wall Drugs.

So, I don't know what exactly I expected from Wall Drugs.... a huge store maybe, with "free water" (that's what they are known for), and such.  But wow - it's really a little town inside the town of Wall.  I mean I stopped counting how many separate stores were inside Wall Drug.  I will, however, recommend the fudge shop.  :)  It was fun walking through the history of westward expansion at Wall.

 We even ran into Buffalo Bill Cody....

And my unrealized life long dream was granted... I got to ride a "jack-a-lope!"

 It was a funny little stop, but a nice diversion in the drive.  And just a short drive outside Wall was the North entrance to Badlands National Park.

So - I think I had about 400 pictures on my camera from this day.  It was just an amazing scene.  And all the while my mind kept thinking about how "hardy" the early settlers must have been.  Because, I would've pulled my wagon up to this.....   And been like, "OK - lets go back a ways to where we were, because I am NOT crossing that!"

Once again, we saw lots of prairie dogs!!!!

Even the girls were impressed with how amazing this area was.
 Hours of this amazing view.....

We found a neat picnic area - and were thankful for the shade because once the sun came out, it was quite toasty.

This area used to be a watering hole.  They are continually uncovering skeletal remains - they even have a procedure to follow if you "happen upon" fossils because they are so plentiful.

This area is known for it's colorful striations - the area in yellow used to be under salt water.  This is an area where a lot of ocean fossils have been found.

 OK - so in the picture below - the butte that is in the middle of the shot, as far away as you can see - that's 30 miles away.

The landforms are amazing!

 After getting lost once, ending up on a dirt road and accidently driving out of the park on the west side - we finally made it to the visitors center (which is at the western entrance).

 And the girls got to work on their Junior Ranger books.

 That was our 7th and final Junior Ranger badge on this trip.
If you keeping up with that count, so far we have JR badges from..... (1) Knife River Indian Village, (2) Theodore Roosevelt National Park, (3) Little Bighorn National Battlefield, (4)Yellowstone, (5) Jewel Cave, (6) Mount Rushmore, and (7) Badlands National Park

The Every Kid in a Park program starts on September 1st during your 4th grade year of school.  So from Sept 1st - 18th - we earned 7 badges..... That some serious homeschool science, social studies, and history that we've learned!

But as we left the park - the fun didn't stop there.  Once off National Land, we happened upon a little store with a giant prairie dog statue.  We stopped and low and behold, you could buy food and feed the little guys in their prairie dog town.
 Let me just put in my "mom clause" here... this scared the daylights out of me.  I was envisioning rabies shots because someone got bitten, or the bubonic plague from fleas (some people got that from squirrel fleas last year somewhere... I remember reading it), or something.... but they were super cute and friendly and we did it.....

Sadly, our phones died so those are the only pictures we got.  We didn't even get the giant prairie dog photo that we stopped for originally.  Well I can tell you - this was one of the girls favorite parts of the trip - and it was totally unplanned and unexpected.  And.... it's on the list of things to do when we go back again.

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