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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

7-6 and 7-7 Hiking at Sioux Falls and in the Badlands

We drove 2 hours from Scotty's hometown and stopped at Sioux Falls.  The downtown waterfront is gorgeous.  There are huge waterfalls that people can walk around.  We had planned to bike, but the weather looked iffy so we decided to walk.

The town has built lots of bike trails around Sioux Falls, and lots of walking trails.

There was once a flour mill downtown.  It did not succeed as the amount of water power and amount of grain was never predictable.

Now the city holds concerts on the site of the old flour mill.

On the way to the Badlands, we found this!

We had to stop at the Corn Palace - pretty corny....

We watched the sun rise at our campground, Budget Campground outside of the Badlands.  We made breakfast and were off.  I love that you can see the Badlands in the background.

Got to Notch Trail at 7:00 in morning and hiked for almost 3 hours there. It's a surreal landscape, like another planet, beautiful views everywhere.  To get up to the top, you climb/crawl/walk up a rung ladder along the steep surface of the rock formation.  Once at the top, there's a trail to follow, but you can also go off to other views.  Other than another couple, we were the only ones there.  There are sporadic sunflowers that pop up in places, some fir trees, but very little vegetation at all.  We did see 2 chipmunks, but I didn't see any birds or rattlesnakes - even though there are rattlesnake warnings.

I didn't think I could do it.  I didn't look up or down, just at the rung in front of me and started climbing.

I made it!

Exploring at the top of Notch Trail.

Not bad for a timed photo!

This was me going down.

We actually ran into another younger couple and they took our picture.

Like an alien world!
Can you see the ladder?

 After we came down, we hiked Door Trail which seemed very mild in comparison.  Here there were people everywhere, including many families with young children.  The surfaces here were large and flat for the most part.  At the end of the trail were large drop offs to the canyon below.

This little guy greeted us as we entered the trail, never moving.
Do you see Scotty in the middle?

Truly the end as there is a cliff behind us.
As desolate as it seems here, there are signs of life like the pretty sunflowers scattered around.

We drove along the Badlands Scenic Loop and stopped at several of the overlooks (white River Overlook and more).  We stopped the car at one point to photograph some bighorn sheep nearby the road.  We got out at Roberts Prairie Dog Town and enjoyed looking for the prairie dogs that were popping in and out of their burrows.   Just a little ways down the road, we saw about 8 bison farther away from the road.

We headed to Wall Drug Store and each of us had a buffalo burger and fries.  We only briefly walked through some of the Wall Drug stores- this is a very touristy, kitschy area.

We drove towards Hill City and  set up camp at Horsethief Campground.  We're farther away from the bathhouse and office, but have a large spot away from many of the other campers.  Jerry and Patsy Halvorson stopped by briefly as they're camping down the road.   We had dinner (a snack packet with grapes, cheese, sausage and crackers) that we got at a grocery store in town.  It's a bit windier tonight so we bundled up a little more in the tent).

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