Belvedere SD to Sheridan Lake SD
Day 4 Stats: short drive, 140 miles, lots of stops
Knowing we had a short drive gave us the luxury of making breakfast in camp - pancakes! We were on the road by 9am and heading towards the Black Hills. But first, the Badlands.
Visitors to Badlands National Park have the joy of seeing some of the US's most interesting landscape. Formed by deposition (the process of rocks gradually building up) and erosion over the course of a million years, the rock continues to erode at the rate of about one inch per year. For comparison, the nearby Black Hills are eroding at a rate of one inch per 10,000 years. That means that scientists speculate that the Badlands may erode completely in the next 500,000 years.
These rocks hold one of the world's richest fossil beds - ancient horses and rhinos once roamed through this area. Currenly it's home to bison, prairie dogs, black footed ferrets, and bighorn sheep.
When we entered the park the ranger at the gate informed us that dogs were allowed only on "The Door" trail. So to The Door trail we went, only to find signs on all the trails stating "no pets on trails". It was too hot to leave the dogs in the car so we resorted to a driving tour of the Badlands.
As we drove out of the park we headed directly into Wall, SD, home of Wall Drug and "free ice water". Wall Drug was pretty much what you might expect from a place that advertises 5 cent coffee on the highway - tacky, crammed with stuff, and very busy with lots of travelers. Part museum part souvenier mega mart, it was fun to walk around for the first few minutes but soon I felt overewhelmed with the number of people crowding around me.
Heading out from Wall we made our way to Rapid City and then south into the Black Hills and our campsite at Sheridan Lake. After setting up our tent we took the dogs for a ramble over and through the hills, stopping to admire wildflowers along the way.
When we made it back to camp Daniel whipped up a tasty chilli mac dinner as the day drew to a close. As the sun went down so did the temperature, and soon we all tucked oursevles into the tent and bid Day 4 goodnight.