Following Mitchell, we parted ways with Bruce & Sue for a few days as they headed to Rapid City and we enjoyed the area around the Badlands. On our way to the Badlands, Claudia insisted we stop at what I thought would be just another tourist trap we had seen advertised on multiple billboards along the road. 1880 Town did allow us to stretch our legs as we walked down the main street that contained more than 30 original buildings furnished with thousands of unique relics from the 1880 era. It also contained a great museum containing many of the props used in the movie “Dancing with Wolves”. It turned out to be a very nice attraction and Stella was allowed to accompany us as we walked around.
We began our return visit to the Badlands by hiking an area that we missed the last time we were here. It was in the eastern edge of the Badlands that we only saw as we were driving out. In addition to some beautiful scenery we also stopped and visited the Prairie Homestead, a site that was originally established as a homestead of 160 acres back in 1909. It included the original sodbuster home, a cave or food cellar, a chicken house and a barn. It was amazing to see how people struggled to survive back then in an area of the country that was extremely isolated. We also took a day to visit Wall Drug, a tourist area since 1931 that featured all sorts of shops and dining options where we enjoyed a great breakfast. Then it was back to the Badlands where we enjoyed more views and hiked a few of our favorite trails.
Our next stop took us to Spearfish, South Dakota where we were reunited with Bruce and Sue for a four night stay. On our first day the four of us took a ride and explored Spearfish Canyon and some of the local waterfalls. It was a beautiful area and we enjoyed several short hikes. We also drove out to and visited the area used in the final winter scene of the movie Dances with Wolves. It was a nice area but hard to envision it as the area for that scene with so much new growth. Our next day took the four of us on a drive through the Black Hills and down to Hill City. After a beautiful drive we spent our time there with the girls browsing the shops until they got hungry and then we had lunch at the Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill, a great old place with lots of charm including a bar built around 1890. On our final day in Spearfish, Claudia and I headed off to visit Devils Tower. The weather was a bit iffy but we decided we just didn’t want to miss it again since we missed it in 2014 when we were returning from Alaska. We arrived and hiked around the tower even though there was a steady rain the entire time. The tower was magnificent as we expected and we didn’t mind getting wet. Really wet. We took our time hiking around the tower until about the half way point when a bolt of lightning followed immediately but an extremely loud clap of thunder brought some life into our legs and we finished the hike quite quickly. It’s all just part of the adventure. And in case you’re wondering, no we weren’t the only fools out there. The place was packed.
The next four weeks take us to the Yellowstone National Park area. There we’ll be enjoying Cody, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole before heading south. And yes, the fun continues!!