Sun. 14th Aug. 2016
Started off the day with a real treat: gluten-free pancakes at The Original Pancake House. SO good and by some miracle they were actually a dollar cheaper than the other pancakes.
We drove straight over to Falls Park. I’m glad we got there early because it wan’t busy yet which afforded us wonderful picture-taking opportunities.
Gabe was in heaven. He loves climbing on large boulders more than anything else. It’s his favorite outdoor activity! He said, “Mom, this is my heaven!”
We enjoyed the Visitor’s center and the viewing tower. There’s a nice-looking restaurant near the Falls, if you need a quick bite at lunch/dinner time. It’s not an all-day activity, but it’s a great place to stretch your legs and take in a beautiful view.
After a couple of hours we hopped back in our trusty van and made our way to the Badlands National Park.
As we were driving along I kept seeing signs for the Corn Palace. I’d seen it years ago while visiting Genevieve and hadn’t really given it any thought for this trip. I did’t realize we’d be driving right by it. Once I learned that it was only about 15 min off the highway it was easy to convince the others it was worth a look. We actually spent a good hour or so there.
After all, it is touted as The World’s ONLY Corn Palace. What?! Why isn’t the rest of the world cashing in on this? Hahahaha.
They have a neat little education center which was kind of fun. I cringed at some of the Monsanto-inspired lessons, but overall it was worth taking some time to look around.
We arrived at about 11 so we had the whole day to hike and take in the views.
If you’re like us and aren’t major hikers, you can easily do the Badlands in a day. There are a lot of overlooks and short trails, but the park itself is not extensive.
The Badlands start off with a bang. There are great views right away.
I was blown away by the flowers that were just everywhere – our entire trip, really.
There are a couple of places that have these boardwalks. You can walk around and read about fossils, etc, that have been found there.
Once you get into the park a bit more you start to see some variety in the landscape. There’s actual grass in some places which is just beautiful.
Saddle Pass Trail was intense! It was steep and it didn’t help that the wind really picked up because of the storm rolling in. Going up was fun, going down required some real concentration and effort. Amazing.
After a long day we headed north and found a hotel for the night. It was a late night which is a common theme in our vacations, but it was an amazing day and our sleep was well-earned.