After spending a week with family around South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, I set out for my first solo adventure. I planned to head to the Sage Creek Campground in Badlands National Park. Having stayed with family on the Eastern side of South Dakota the night before, the drive wasn’t too terrible, and I arrived at the Badlands with plenty of time!
I drove through the main road of the Badlands, stopping into the Visitor Center to talk with the Rangers on duty. They directed me to the best open route (one route being closed at the time) to get to the Sage Creek Campground, and I was on my way.
I spent the whole week camping out at this campground. I was happy to see that I could get some good 4G Verizon from this site, although I dropped down to 3G quite frequently as well. I never did not have enough to work, though, so I was satisfied.
Over the course of the week, I went on several hikes around the campsite. Truth be told, I’m upset that I didn’t get to do any backpacking in the area. I noticed many good trails that would be amazing to follow down on a long hike or backpacking adventure. Nonetheless, I’m happy with the time that I did get there and would love to go back.
One bad thing about this campsite was the amount of bugs–especially mosquitoes! They were everywhere! Stupid me, I didn’t bring any bug spray and Tuesday night, I let far too many of those rotten things into my car to sleep comfortably.
Not to be defeated, I set up my tent, making sure not to let any bugs in in the process. It was actually a wonderful tent camping experience for the night! The following day, I ran over to that attraction of Wall Drug, which I was not very impressed with but was able to find some bug spray to keep myself free of the mosquitoes to one degree or another.
Until I woke up right around sunrise Sunday morning to two large bison walking around outside of my tent. One was within two or three feet of my tent when I first peaked out in the morning. I sat trapped in my tent for a couple of hours until I was able to safely move into the safety of my car and watch the bison roam through camp.
The National Park Service states that the buffalo do frequently roam through the camp, and all of us camping there had multiple run-ins with them as they did. It was exciting. They are large, but beautiful creatures.
Nearby the campground, there was also a field full of prairie dogs. They made lots of noise whenever someone walked by, and I couldn’t help but notice the signs nearby warning that the prairie dogs have “plague”. I kept my distance to the best of my ability from all of the wildlife, of course, but caught some good pictures.
Wednesday, after the buffalo roamed through, however, began a tough couple of days for the car camping life. Wednesday was full of rain, continuing into Thursday morning. I sat mostly inside of my car, staying out of the rain. I had to re-tie down my solar panels as the wind from the storms loosened my original, rather shoddy work on that.
I quickly learned that I had first parked in a terrible spot for the rain! The ground all around my chosen camp spot turned to a very wet mud, and I could not walk to the bathroom without getting covered in mud and soaking wet. Furthermore, I began to watch cars have to get pushed or towed out left and right. One guy with his truck came and helped many of them get out easier. Eventually, I did decide to get out and run into town for some supplies, so I got to do some mudding. Tivona handled it like a champ, and I didn’t need any help. Call me proud of my car, and I won’t deny it!
On the way out, I decided to drive through the road that had previously been closed. It was a bit of a rough road, but easy for Tivona and I. There were some amazing views along the way, and I even had to stop on the road to allow a couple of big horn sheep to cross.
I definitely love that area, and I want to go back!
Here’s some more pictures of the area and the wildlife: