Day 312 – Storm in the Badlands

July 21st, 2017 – 1:00 AM, I awoke from my tent to the sound of thunder. I was hearing the storm approach slowly as well as nearby campers rushing to their cars to put stuff away.

I was doing a mental checklist of everything we did to set-up the tent. Staked down? Check. Tarp laid out? Check. Tent’s fly tied down? Check. Seemed like everything was fine.

About 5-minutes into the storm we were hit with a powerful gust of wind that caused our tent to collapse on top of us. For the next 15 minutes my fiancee and I embraced the storm and held the tent down from the inside as the combined wind and rainfall hit us.

By the time the storm was over, the inside of our tent was completely soaked as well as us. We went to address the damage and found that one of the tent poles seemed to have came loose, causing the entire thing to come down. We took the time to put down and bag our mud covered supplies. We left off to a nearby motel to get some rest.

After a few hours of sleep we woke up, ate some breakfast then decided to end our trip through South Dakota early. We drove the rest of the way back home passing by some expressive monuments along the way. We got home in the late evening to unpack, eat, then head to bed.

Day 311 – Hot Springs, South Dakota

July 20th, 2017 – After several days of hiking, camping, and no showers, my fiancee and I decided to enjoy a refreshing dip in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Just a half hour’s drive down south of Crazy Horse, Hot Springs is a pretty small quaint town to visit.

We left off to Evan’s Plunge to enjoy their large pool filled with natural mineral water. After spending some time enjoying the pool, steam room, and hot tub, we headed off to a local restaurant for lunch.

Once we finished eating we went to the Mammoth site. Here we learned that this whole town use to be home to a hot spring from the ice age which managed to entrap and drown over 60 mammoths. A very educational tour overall.

In the evening we arrived in the Badlands to set-up camp for the night. My fiancee and I took a note at the fish gill-like clouds and knew we were going to be dealing with a heavy storm tonight.

Day 310 – Black Elk Ridge

July 19th, 2017 – This morning we set off to do the prime reason for our trip, to climb South Dakota’s highest point: Black Elk Ridge. Luckily for us, our campsite had a connecting route leading to the peak so we didn’t need to drive off anywhere nor pay the $20 to use Custer Park’s trail head.

The entire route there and back was 9.4 miles, and took several hours to complete. We got a lovely view of the entire black hills during our hike and were rewarded with a nice breeze to cool us down from the hike. After eating some food, and taking a short rest, we walked back to the trail head to re-hydrate with some water mixed with Powerade.

It was still light out so my fiancee and I decided to go to Crazy Horse Memorial for dinner then left to camp at the city of Hot Springs.

3hourHike

Day 309 – Reptiles and Parks

July 18th, 2017 – It’s another beautiful day in Black Hills, South Dakota. After finishing up breakfast my fiancee and I left off to the Reptile Gardens, where we spent a good couple of hours watching the various animal exhibits, witness a man wrestle a gator, and learned more about the evolution of reptiles.

We then left off to Rapid City to explore the locally famous Dinosaur Garden to take some pictures and get in a short hike. Towards the end of our visits we found to still have quite a bit of time in the day left.

We took advantage of this time and followed the suggestion of a local resident of Keystone and traveled down Iron Mountain Road. It was a 2-hour beautiful scenic view that I couldn’t recommend enough to anyone visiting the Black Hills.

Day 308 – To The Black Hills

July 17th, 2017 – This morning we got to experience firsthand the dry and hot temperatures of South Dakota. Once we got up we loaded quickly loaded up our car and left to the famous Wall Drug for breakfast.

After a bit more of a drive we arrived in the Black Hills for second stop of our trip. We scouted around for some campgrounds around the area before settling on Willow Creek Horse Camp, a pretty secluded campground that had just the right amount of amenities we needed to stay comfortably a couple of nights.

Once we finished setting up we left off to Keystone for some gift shopping then came back to the campsite by evening to cook up some freeze-dried food for dinner.

Day 307 – Entering South Dakota

July 16th, 2017 – It’s our first day heading off to South Dakota, beginning our multi-day adventure throughout the state. Our first stop was in the city of Chamberlin, the midway point to the Black Hills. Once we arrived to our campsite it wasn’t long before we went from setting up camp to it being pitch black.

Unfortunately for us, the campsite didn’t really have a fire pit so my fiancee and I skipped dinner for the day. The both of us figured we can make up the calories during breakfast the next day.

Day 306 – Tough Mudder and Pizza

July 15th, 2017 – Today is the day of my first Tough Mudder! When I first heard about this race from my OCR friends about how challenging this course was I instantly signed up for the next upcoming race. I managed to show up on the course about 10 minutes prior to my start time, but unfortunately did not start running until an hour and a half later.

The race itself was about 11 miles, and happened on an extremely hot and humid day. While it was initially fun, the lack of water stations, long wait times, and non-challenging obstacles kind of made the entire experience lackluster.

After finishing the race I sipped on some Powerade and washed up then left off with some friends to grab a deep dish pizza.