As we continued on our Last Hurrah trip, we left Mitchell, SD on the morning of October 1, 2018, headed ultimately for Custer, SD, where we had a lodging reservation for that night. Our primary sightseeing goal for the day was Badlands National Park, about a 200-mile drive from Mitchell.
Halfway between Mitchell and the Badlands, near Chamberlain, SD, is a rest area that should be a destination in itself, if for no other reason than the excellent Lewis and Clark museum located there. Since our last time through the area, a new feature has been added: a 50-foot-high stainless steel statue of a Native American woman. The statue, titled simply "Dignity" and situated on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, is an impressive sight.
Near the entrance to Badlands National Park, something caught Doug's eye in a field beside the road. We stopped to get a closer look and saw what appeared to be a prairie dog town. But what really captured our attention was a little burrowing owl among the prairie dogs. We were too far away for me to get a good photo, but I was pleased to get even this.
|Burrowing Owl, with a Prairie Dog standing watch in the background|
And then we entered Badlands National Park, which covers an area of 244,000 acres of geologic deposits and mixed-grass prairie. Its rugged beauty must be seen to be believed. Numerous overlooks along the loop road through the park provide great views. Trails are also available, including a Fossil Exhibit Trail, for a more up-close-and-personal experience.
|A panoramic look at some of the landscape|
If you look very closely at the following image, you might be able to see the two dozen or so Bighorn Sheep lined up along the ridge. They were so far from us that we couldn't see them without binoculars. Another tourist pointed them out to us or we'd have missed them completely.
|Bighorn Sheep on ridge|
The next four images show various views of the Badlands landscape:
As we neared Custer, South Dakota that night, we were treated to a lovely sunset:
|Sunset Near Custer, SD|
Today's video will help you get a better look at those sheep on the ridge:
Custer State Park, South Dakota, was our sightseeing destination for the next day. But more on that next time.