Sun blazed into our tent at the crack of dawn, chasing us both out of bed. There wasn’t much in the way of shade around here. It was about to get really hot, and we didn’t want to be around for that.
I was a little sleepy this morning, too – thanks in part to last night’s excitement. But happy. The Badlands are so unbelievably beautiful. Waking up in the middle the of the Badlands was an incredible way to start the day.
Daniel and I hiked back to the Rialta and soon we were ready for today’s shenanigans.
Our first stop of the day was located just past the park’s Northeast Entrance Station. Prairie Homestead, a sod house constructed in 1909, is one of the last original sod homes still intact today. Now listed on the National Register of Historic places, Prairie Homestead gives visitors a glimpse back in time at how life was like for early pioneers.
The big draw for us, however, was not the the pioneer artifacts. It was the prairie dogs. Prairie dogs are all over the place around Prairie Homestead, scampering in and out of giant holes in the ground. And they are ADORABLE!
Prairie dogs are also a major attraction at the Badlands Ranch Store down the road. They even have a giant prairie dog statue. Daniel and I enjoy giant statues of things, so of course we had to stop for a photo.
Soon we were back on Interstate 90 and heading east. We crossed the Missouri River around lunchtime and pulled over at a rest stop. Here we found the Dignity of Earth and Sky Statue on a bluff overlooking the river.
Designed by artist Dale Lamphere, the Dignity Statue is meant to honor the Native Nations of the Great Plains. The sculpture depicts an Indigenous woman with her arms outstretched gracefully. It’s a beautiful piece and it drew quite the crowd of admirers when we were there.
A Hotel Night
Daniel and were both feeling scuzzy and agreed that it was time for a night in a hotel. So we stopped for the day in Mitchell, South Dakota. This town is home to the renowned Corn Palace, which we plan to visit tomorrow.
We crossed over into the Central Time Zone somewhere in the middle of South Dakota today. That’s our second time zone change on this trip so far. Moving to a new time zone is a little disorienting. It always takes me a few days to adjust.
Where are we now?
We are currently in a hotel in Mitchell, South Dakota – but the above photos are taken from the Badlands Ranch Store.
Date: August 7, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 33
Starting Location: Badlands National Park, SD
Ending Location: AmericInn, Mitchell SD
Miles Traveled: 197.9
Total Trip Mileage: 3369.1
For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:
- Day 32: Backpacking in the Badlands
- Day 31: Wall Drug Store – A Kitschy Paradise
- Day 30: Custer State Park
- Days 28-29: The Beautiful Black Hills
- Day 27: Joyner Ridge and Red Beds Trails