Black Hills, South Dakota.
Our goal was to stop by and check out Mount Rushmore in the morning. It was exactly what we expected, very touristy and surprisingly busy, even on a rainy and cold day. Still the size of the sculpture is quite impresive. We pretty much took a few pictures and left. It cost us $10 for parking.
While our plan was to go to Minnesota and have a fried walleye sandwich (Minnesota's specialty) for dinner, I detracted from it by suggesting visiting Badlands National Park. Plans are made to be changed! The description for Badlands and the possibility of seeing wilds bisons roaming seemed too cool to pass on. The park is right off the I-90, and you can do a 1-2 hour loop, depending on how fast you go through it. After paying the $15 entrance fee, we entered at Bandlands National Park to find pronghorn antelopes (which are not actual antelopes) munching on grass; we actually saw many throughout our drive through Montana.
The view was quite spectacular, even though we did not have the best weather. I can imagine it feeling quite different with a blazing sun. It reminded me slightly of Drumheller and at times going through the Atlas mountain range in Morroco. There was a rattlesnake warning, but we didn’t think rattlesnakes would venture out inthe rain!
Bandlands National Park from an overlook.
After taking pictures from the overlook, we headed to the Roberts Prairie Dog Town, where we encountered some prairie dogs. We initially imagined them to be ugly like hyenas but prairie dogs are actually very adorable rodent-like creatures, like a mini-beaver. The grass was dotted wit holes and you could see their little heads popping in and out of their hole-y homes.
As we approached another overlook area, I thought I saw a bison from afar. I figured it had to be a fake one for tourists. Then it started moving, and I thought maybe it was a mechanical one. It turned out to be real! We got the chance to see a bison from pretty close. What an animal! It’s rather monstrous looking and very large. We were both in awe of the bison!
Our drive through the badlands continued to be amazing. Although I was disappointed to miss out on eating a walleye sandwich in Minnesota, the detour was well worth it! [Side note: No food on this post, but plenty on the next one, when we hit Chicago!]