Desmond and Robby hike the Badlands

Gretchen shows off her Junior Ranger badge and patch!

Desmond and Lynne explore Wall Drug

Desmond working on a Jr. Ranger packet

2017: Robby and Lynne at Wall Drug

1954: Maybelle McCombs, Dorothy and Emery Poore, Wall drug.

Gretchen and Robby on the ridge at Badlands.

June 22, 2017

Sorry for the delayed blog posts, folks! We are in areas of the west that don’t have any Wi-Fi, or even cell service. So we had to put our phones on airplane mode. Will try to update this  when we can!

We had a great night sleep in Wall–so great in fact that we couldn’t make it to the hotel breakfast! After packing the car we headed to the legendary Wall Drug store, ate a massive breakfast and took several photos. I remembered seeing a photo my grandparents had taken in 1954 at the same location, so Desmond took a new one of Lynne and I in the same wagon.

We motored to the Badlands, and it was spectacular. Beautiful rock formations, all rapidly eroding and exposing fossils. Kids got the Junior Ranger packets at the visitor center, watched a short (and interesting) video, then went for a hike on the Notch trail. Gretchen is quite an intrepid explorer, looking for “the road less travelled” and scrambling up rock faces with ease. We had a great time, it’s so nice to hike in the west again. The weather was great, too, only about 75°.

We had lunch at the visitor’s center, then the twins got their Ranger badges (and the obligatory assortment of curios), and we were off on the spectacular drive through the park. Beautiful views, and we spotted a
few bighorn sheep, and one lonely buffalo.

We were tired so we motored to Rapid City, then headed south to our campsite at Spokane River Campground near Keystone. It’s our first time at a private campground, and it’s quite nice. The kids made instant friends with other youngsters who understood the World of Harry Potter, fidget spinners, and other oddities. The tent got pitched, the fire lit, and we had hamburgers and beer, and marshmallows. Lots of late-night arrivals at this place. The wind picked up at night and rained a little.

GRETCHEN: So far, today was my favorite day on the trip. I absolutely love Badlands National Park and am glad to be a junior ranger there. The hikes and landscape there are beautiful. Even though the hikes were long, tiring, and hot
The amazing views made up for it. I also like to take the road less traveled and go for a hike with my Dad. Now I realize that Badlands is such a wonderful place and deserves it’s title as a National Park.