Makeup picture #1 (WordPress tells me I missed 4 days).  Badlands in the fall.  Still remains one of what I would call the most surprising destinations – it doesn’t have anything that specifically interests me, but it’s just a cool place to go hike around.  Miniature mountains everywhere.

Picture taken with Panasonic TS4, lens @ 4.9mm (28mm eq.), 1/1250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100

Badlands Panorama


I feel like the Badlands get ignored because they don’t have the biggest, tallest, wildest, whatever-est claim, but it really was a beautiful park, and based on pictures I’ve seen from other people, I would readily go back there for another visit.  Of course, we were there in the early early spring – maybe things get a bit more dead and tumble-week like later in the year.

Pictures taken with Panasonic Lumix TS-4, lens @ 4.9mm (28mm eq.), 1/1250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100

Tetons & Yellowstone – Badlands National Park

On the up-side, the campground in the Badlands had showers.  On the down-side, they were cold.  We did a variety of shorter trails on the second day.

Cliff Shelf Trail – a shorter loop following a boardwalk through juniper trees with a geologic slump.

Door Trail – a three quarter mile trail down a boardwalk through a break in the formations (the door) and out into the unmaintained area.

Window Trail – a quarter mile trail to a window overlooking where we had just been on the Door Trail.

Notch Trail – this was the longest trail of the day through a canyon, up a log ladder and along a ridge to an overlook of the White River Valley.  This was the most interesting hike, walking along a canyon ridge.

Badlands - Notch Trail Continue reading

Tetons & Yellowstone – Badlands National Park

Well, the title of this post is dumb because I’ve been referring to the trip as the Tetons & Yellowstone even though it also included the South Dakota Badlands.  The Badlands was kind of an add-on, somewhere to stop on the drive if we had time.  We weren’t exactly sure what to expect or how long we were going to want to stay in the badlands.

Mt. Rushmore

Our first stop was on the way to the Badlands in the Black Hills at Mount Rushmore.

While Mt. Rushmore might be an impressive National Monument, the general area is a complete tourist trap.  Keystone is a small town just outside Mt. Rushmore which resembles a year round carnival, kind of like Pigeon Forge, TN.  We drove through Keystone and continued up toward Mt. Rushmore.  There were occasional vehicles pulled over on the side of the road, which we found odd, given that we were less than a mile from the actual entrance.

Turns out, although the National Monument access is free, parking is privately run and cost $11, park passes not accepted.  Between that and a general distaste for the tourist trap we had just driven through, we decided not to pay, dubbed the entire place Mt. Shmushmore, turned around and just took some pictures from the road around the area.

Mount Rushmore Continue reading