To the plains

01 morning rollingview

Out early enough to catch the morning golden hour light. There’s even a pronghorn in this field (left of the top of the fencepost).

02 bighorn sign

Our critter species count started early, with pronghorn, red fox, prairie chicken (or grouse?), deer, and ??—I thought there were five notables in the first hour…ah, well. No bighorns this day….

03 tackytown

Into the Black Hills, a long-time tourist mecca, tacky to the nth degree.

04 plains begin

Dropping down into the Plains, you know the vistas will change. The name Black Hills makes far more sense if you come upon them west-bound. East-bound, they are ragtag cousins of the Winds and Bighorns, not to mention the Tetons.

05 plains valley

At first, the valleys still have some character, by which I mean they aren’t just rounded hills.

06 last bison almost

We duck into the Badlands for one more hit of spectacular geology. And find our last bison. The fellow with this guy was even more scruffy.

07 badlands pano

So scenic. Most of the Badlands have this grey-white cast.

08 badlands redwall

Some are banded with red, and a very few are entirely reddish.

09 greywhite grasslands edge

We both enjoyed the transition zone, where the eroded badlands meets the grasslands. Windy, hot in the sun….

10 MO R RR bridge

One more milestone: looking back at the Missouri River, fourth longest river system in the world. We’ve been in its drainage basin for days, across several states.

I spare you pictures of the farmland we zipped across after this, speed limit 80mph, like the high mountain passes, good for hammering your mileage. Glad the sun is behind us for this stretch….


  1. James says:

    Have you dug Wall Drug?

    Uh… I guess not.

  2. kayak woman says:

    We once stayed a couple nights in the badlands and I could not believe how much I loved it there. We did go to Wall Drugs