Monday. September 11, 2017. Badlands National Park.
It stormed last night, so we woke up to a wet tent, wet stuff, and no desire to eat just muffins. So we went to Baker’s Bakery and Cafe in downtown Custer. They make all homemade bread, and Allyson gave a 10/10 to their gluten free toast (and even I did.) However, it ended up being a poor choice on my part to order a full meal; a very delicious breakfast burrito. Normally when eating out I take home half of my food as leftovers. However, living out of a cooler and a backpacking stove for a couple more days, it would have been wasteful to leave any food on my plate; a habit that is so ingrained in my mind from my childhood.
After breakfast, we finally hiked the entirety of Black Elk Peak. Of course, I was extremely full from my breakfast burrito, so the first part was not the most enjoyable. Also, we took my pack this time and with over 3L of water and snacks on snacks (we packed before breakfast, so I insisted on taking chips and dehydrated guacamole and a jar of salsa), it still was considerably heavy. Made worse by the heat of the day. The view was extremely worth it though, and we also got to see a couple mountain goats! A big plus since that is the stuffed animal we got Remi (& Bubba got a bison.)
We finally drove Iron Mountain Rd, which is even better than the Needles highway in my opinion. It had ‘pigtail’ turns, a scenic view of Mount Rushmore, and places where the typical wildlife may be. Definitely worth the extra gas to take that way, since we were headed to the Badlands anyways.
Which is where we are set up right now for camp; the campground right inside the north unit of the park at the interior entrance. The wide open night sky is a huge plus, Allyson and I just spent about 30-45 minutes trying to find constellations (calling them “the squiggle, trapezoid, bright one, horseshoe, and parallelogram.) It was great. The downfall is the $23.32 price for the campground; it required all of our quarters to pay, AND apparently they charge for showers. We were so stoked for a shower after our hike today, and walk in to find it’s 50 cents for only 4 minutes… $1.25 for 10 minutes. So yes, we did resort to taking turns guarding the bathroom, so the other could take a sponge bath and clean all the necessary body parts.