Badlands National Park | 33/59

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Badlands?  Try RADlands!  This place was beyond cool.  We try our best to be completely honest in our posts.  I will admit that we tend to focus on the BEST parts of our trip, but I think that has to do with our personalities; we try and focus on the positive around here.  But, I have to say that I was kind of hating on the Dakotas.  For some reason the Dakotas were just the butt of all our jokes!  But those jokes stopped at Badlands National Park.  We took all of our words back as we soaked up the rugged beauty of this place.

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The openness spoke to me.  Some people love the wooded glens, and the dense forests, (I am not saying that I don’t love these things) but I love open spaces.  It probably has something to do with me growing up in the high-mountain deserts of Idaho – but I vibed with this place.

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We hit the trails quick.  I was actually surprised to find that there really isn’t a massive network of trails in the park.  There are really only a handful.  We hiked two of the three main trails – Notch Trail and Door Trail.  Both are very short and easy to manage.  We didn’t even bring water with us (which actually we regret, because we stayed out there longer than we thought we would).

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Walking through the gully was pleasant.  It kept us out of the wind, at least.

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Here is the view from the end of the Notch Trail.  The trail stops abruptly at the face of a cliff.  Madison said that she imagined that this is what it would feel like to look out over a kingdom.

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Shadow nerds.  Sometimes the light hits you just right, you have to take a picture, you know?

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The ladder is actually quite steep.  Steep enough that I halfway regretted my choice to go down it facing forward.  There is potential for mistake – be careful.

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When I really think about what I enjoyed most about the park, it would have to be the sunset.  I am a sucker for a good sunset.  It just ends the day on such a nice note.

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The next morning I woke up to some amazing pancakes.  Yeah – I have the best wife ever. Check out the recipe for them on our Instagram.

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With our bellies filled with this yummy goodness, we hit the trail again. We hiked to the end of the Door Trail to get our blood flowing.  I appreciated this trail even more than the one from the previous day, just because it seemed more rugged.  Which is interesting, because the trail actually starts on a fancy boardwalk, making it wheelchair accessible.  But at the end of the boardwalk the trail takes you to a more rugged, more Badlandy-like destination.

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It just felt like we were OUT there – out in the middle of it all.  It gave me a feeling of what it would feel like to be the first human discovering this place.  And I think that is the goal of the NPS – preservation.  Help create the sensation that you ARE the first person setting foot here.  My hat goes off to the crew at Badlands NP, they nailed it with this one.

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I hate it when  my outfit blends in with the background.

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Sometimes we get sad when we end a certain park.  For me, this was one of those times.  I wish we could have stayed longer in the Badlands.  But, the reality is that the trail never has to “end”.  We left one good thing and went straight to the next!  SONIC!

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The best part about driving your home around, is that Sonic delivers right to your kitchen.  This way you can put it on fancy plates and start your party immediately.

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