Friday, September 14, 2012

Badlands National Park - 09/14/12

We departed Custer State Park at 11:30 a.m. Our planned route is to take US-16 east to SD-36 east to SD-79 north to SD-44 east to SD-240 north to the Badlands National Park. A short drive of 101 miles.

We arrived at the Cedar Pass Campground at 1:45 p.m. and were fortunate to find campsite # 22 with an electric hookup. Since our last visit here in 1996, they have added electric hookups to 23 of the 55 campsites. They are also putting the finishing touches on a shower building, which is a nice added feature to this campground.

The weather here is dry and in the 90’s during the day and in the 50’s at night, so it is quite pleasant here this time of the year.

At 10:00 p.m. we went outside for some serious stargazing with our telescope. There is just no comparison to the sky at night like there is in the Badlands. It is devoid of any light except for the stars shining their brightness down to Earth from outer space. It is absolutely amazing; there are literally billions of stars transmitting their light from within our solar system, from millions of light-years away. We were very fortunate to see two shooting stars this evening. The awesome speed that these chunks of meteorites enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up is an amazing sight to witness here in the surrounding blackness of night.

The Badlands National Park is one of our favorite places to visit. It is a vast expanse of a moonlike landscape, so desolate at first glance, yet it is teeming with wildlife. There are Coyotes, Bobcats, Bison, Bighorn Sheep, Rattlesnakes, Black-Footed Ferret, Porcupine, Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs, and Foxes.

Before nightfall, we saw two Bighorn Sheep grazing in the distance, while we were having our nightly ritual of cheese and crackers with a nice glass of wine. Life is good!

Tomorrow, we will begin our tour of the Badlands.

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