What bad can possibly happen in Badlands you might be asking? It’s such an amazing piece of nature near american highway nr. 94 in South Dakota… And next to visitor center. Funny thing is that I ran into Badlands just because I was passing around a rest area. Somehow it was a national park. But this story is definetaly one of the best of my whole trip to USA.
Where are Badlands and how it started
Badlands are in North Dakota on the 94 highway not far from Montana border. In fact it is Theodor Roosvelt National Park. I learned about Badlands by accident. When I was oversleeping at carpark before Cabelas (big american outdoor and hunting shop) I talked to the local salesman and he told me about badlands. While I was cruising through the highway I saw a sign that says Viewpoint and rest area. I was so curious that I had to pull over and look around!
After I find out that its actualy the badlands I decided to stay over night. I was rewarded with a heard of wild horses that went through the parking lot. Another rewar was the astonishing sunset and the picture of my car I managed to take.
That evening I also get a warning that there might be snakes. Well at least in the previous state they were (a guy told me)…
Path of brave ones
Ok I take the path through Badlands. The first sign right next to the park lot is warning sign. It says that I should take enought water, because it’s a hot area and windy so be aware of fires. I planned to go for just till lunch so thats usually about a liter of water. So according to instructions I took double amount.
Just the way to the path that goes around the badlands took about an hour. And it was about 2.1 miles. On the crossroads I went right. Terrain was rough, but each view was breathtaking. After another 2 miles, while I was constantly checking for snakes on the path I reached a valley. It was hot as hell and I was so amazed by the nature around me… So amazed that I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw the heard of wild horses. They were like kings of the valley…
After almost three hours on the path full of enjoyments of the surrroundings around me I drank already one and a half liter of water. The path was quite challenging and with temperature rising over 30°C it was time to think. Also the navigation on the path was quite hard, because the wind had broken all of the pointing signs. I was somewhere in the first third of the circle through badlands that is way over 10 miles long. It’s really hot and I’m found myself on a crossroads. The path to the left will take me back for sure. And I must avoid the whole circle for sure…
Out of water and I’m lost
The path left has ended. As it turned out it was just an animal path. Terrain is rough, but let’s not panick. I’m really afraid, that I don’t know which way to go back to the crossroads. So I’m going to the nearest high place to look around. I’m trying to orient myself.
Luckily I had a compas with me so I figured out which way could lead me straight to the original path. I fell down hard twice so I packed the camera and I keep going through bushes and tall grass. Uphill and downhill. From the parking lot it was quite easy to navigate but from down here it’s not that easy…
Looking good, my sense didn’t let me down. After about half an hour I found the original path and I’m following it back to the first crossroads and back to where the journey beginned. Water? …there ain’t any water left… Once I finally reached reached the crossroad, that leads to the parking lot I realized that I was down already over 4 hours. Another uphill climb…Yahoo
Are you asking yourself how could this happen?
Well I made a few mistakes. I underestimated the terrain. I was so full of exploring, photographing and observing of nature and wildlife that I didn’t realize I went so far… Also don’t go off the path. I should have gone back or even better I never should have gone off the path.
There is one more thing. The way up back to the car took me another hour and without water. When I got to the car I was so exhausted. Well everything ended up well and it was hell of an adventure. One of the best adventure of my life!