After work last Thursday, Lauren and I packed up the camping gear and headed out west. After being stuck inside for the majority of this year, we've decided that we're going to take any spare time we have and explore all 62 national parks —starting with the Badlands in South Dakota.
We spent two days in the Badlands camping and hiking. After hiking Notch Trail the first day, we woke up early, made coffee, and started our 5 mile journey down Castle Trail. The terrain slowly changed from a flat prairie to rolling hills and beds of rock as we reached the Medicine Root Loop. We finished the day off with a strenuous climb up Saddle Pass Trail, which left us with an amazing view of White River Valley. With our first national park in the books, we packed up and headed towards Wind Cave National Park.
Even though the actual cave was closed, we found another trail to explore —the Sanctuary/Centennial/Highland Creek Loop. This was my favorite part of the trip. If you ever find yourself in Custer, South Dakota, I highly recommend setting some time aside for this. As we walked through the high prairie, we were surrounded by prairie dogs while bison were roaming in the distance. Halfway through the hike, we were met with cool shadows of the ponderosa forest. There wasn't a single person in sight the whole time. Sometimes, just walking among the wildlife is exactly what you need.
The breath of fresh air that this trip provided was much needed as we get ready to go full speed ahead with the release of a project we've been slowly piecing together the past six months. Don't worry, the wait is almost over. You'll learn all about it next week.
As fall sets in, now is the perfect time to get outside, whether that means crossing state lines or just hanging out in the backyard. As always, respect the wildlife and leave the land better than you found it.
Have a favorite hiking trail? Let us know!