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"Hey! Let's go to South Dakota!"

"Ugh... what? South Dakota? We ain't going to South Dakota!"

The above dialogue was the beginning of a good learning moment Lindsey and I underwent. South Dakota was not a destination we had talked about. South Dakota was many hours and many miles away from our current location of Minneapolis. And...NOTHING is in South Dakota...right!? I wanted to push through North Dakota and Eastern Montana to get on over to Glacier National Park ASAP.

But, deciding on a route is team work. Lindsey won me over to the prospect of seeing the Badlands and the Black Hills. When else would we ever make time to gallup through South Dakota but now? So, now or never.

However, no one ever told us about South Dakota. SD was the best surprise and one of our favorite spots on the trip!

 Thumbs up, Wall Drug!

Thumbs up, Wall Drug!

Heading westward from Minnesota, forget endless miles of corn fields. SD has miles and miles of sunflowers! Glorious!

 sunflowers, sunflowers and more sunflowers!

sunflowers, sunflowers and more sunflowers!

First stop: Badlands National Park. We quickly learned how the Badlands earned their name. We attempted for thirty minutes to find the trailhead of our ten mile hike. We could not find the trail! Our only hint was a sign, "Warning: Rattle Snakes." What a start!

 dry desert

dry desert

 Adam looking for the trailhead... we were lost and hadn't even started!

Adam looking for the trailhead... we were lost and hadn't even started!

 Turned back to the trailhead to try again.

Turned back to the trailhead to try again.

 Found the trail! The big horn sheep greeted us right away. 

Found the trail! The big horn sheep greeted us right away. 

 Yipee! This is awesome!

Yipee! This is awesome!

 What a lookout!

What a lookout!

We camped out at Sage Creek because of the free primitive camping. A memorable spot, though! We awoke to Bison tromping through the campground. So awesome!

 Sunset drive. 

Sunset drive. 

 The drive to Sage Creek. 

The drive to Sage Creek. 

 Endless canyons.

Endless canyons.

 Waking up to these boys. 

Waking up to these boys. 

 The buffalo moving along. 

The buffalo moving along. 

Next, the ultra American destination: Mount Rushmore. Surprisingly, pretty dang sweet.

 Got to meet Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln!

Got to meet Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln!

Onto: Wind Cave National Park. Uniquely awesome!

 Above ground. 

Above ground. 

 Under ground in the cave. Eerie box work formations on the ceilings. Lindsey was ready for a gigantic hairy spider to run her out of the cave. 

Under ground in the cave. Eerie box work formations on the ceilings. Lindsey was ready for a gigantic hairy spider to run her out of the cave. 

Next, headed up to Sylvan Lake and hiked South Dakota’s tallest peak, Harney Peak.

 Awesome lookout over Cathedral Pines. 

Awesome lookout over Cathedral Pines. 

 Hiking at the feet of the spires. 

Hiking at the feet of the spires. 

 Well, daggum! Ain't they pretty?

Well, daggum! Ain't they pretty?

 Lookouts galore!

Lookouts galore!

Capped off the trip with some sweet single track: Buzzards Roost trail system in the Black Hills.

 Black Hills beauty!

Black Hills beauty!

 Lookout over the Black Hills. 

Lookout over the Black Hills. 

Then we headed onto Montana and then to Alberta... pictures soon to come of these areas.

We wanted to give you a taste of South Dakota's shocking beauty. You cannot miss this spectacular spot of the US of A. Definitely consider this less traveled state for your next adventure!

Love,

A & L

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