July 6, 2017
We made it to South Dakota on day 2 of driving, however, Badlands is at the western end of the state so we still had a long way to go. One of our goals on our travels is to find and camp places for free - sometimes this will be in a Walmart car park (more on this later) and sometimes it will be in some really cool spots - aiming for the latter most of the time, obviously! Camping for free means no electricity or water hook ups, which can make it difficult to do normal everyday things like make coffee or wash your hands! So, we have set ourselves up with a generator, solar panels and a selection of other batteries that I really know nothing about (I am learning), which allows us to have electricity when we need it. Water is a little more difficult, sure you can fill up your fresh water tank easily but it only holds 30 gallon, which surprisingly isn’t that much! Our water situation has definitely made me much more conscious of not wasting water.
Freecampsites.net has a been a great tool for us and allowed us to find this awesome spot, Byre Lake - Kennebec, South Dakota. We spent just one night there, it was a great location, not too far from the highway and very peaceful. David managed to get in some fishing in the morning before we hit the road - no bites though :( and I managed a little outdoor gym session before spending another day in the car! This life is pretty amazing!
Badlands - July 7, 2017
We made it!! Badlands was badass! Not only did we enjoy some amazing hikes around the national park but we got to see one of the best (and that is hard having lived in Dallas for some time) storms I have ever seen, with a full double rainbow all the way across the sky! The picture does a much better job of explaining, although as always it never does the reality justice.
None of the hikes are very long in Badlands NP, (there is a 10 mile one but it was too hot), we hiked most of the smaller ones, the Notch, Window and Door trails. The Notch trail is just less than 2 miles roundtrip and was pretty difficult, there is a steep log ladder that you have to climb, which wasn’t too bad on the way up but a little more scary (for me) on the way down! I definitely wasn’t prepared for how hot it was in South Dakota, I just presumed being farther north it would be colder than Texas but it was in the high 90’s-100+ degrees F during the day. Although I am somewhat used to the heat, it doesn’t mean I like it!
Buffalo Gap National Grassland - July 8, 17
We only spent one night camping in the NP and aimed to find another free night in the area. Again, thanks to my awesome website for free camping spots, Buffalo Gap National Grassland was our next stop on the road (just outside of the National Park). This location was off the grid and had no water or electricity so we had to use our generator because it was so hot during the day, and we filled our water tank before leaving the NP. There was a lot more wildlife to see at this location, probably because it was less populated. We biked around exploring the grassland area and then back out the the park entrance for that obligatory picture by the sign :)