Unplanned Adventures: The First Couple Days

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As we all know, plans are best done in our heads and left out of the hands of reality, or as the saying goes, the quickest way to make God laugh is to tell Him our plans. Everything was going smoothly the first day (our travel day), until we got to Badlands National Park. The plan was to eat at a restaurant located there and drive through the badlands, taking in its natural allure until we reached our campsite. Unfortunately, we realized too late that we needed gas in the cars and the only gasoline station near us was back out the same way we drove in. This would take some extra time and also meant that night would quickly be approaching. There was simply not enough time to take the 40+ minutes drive through the Badlands unless we desired to set up camp in the dark. It was educators Stephen and Angelyn who stepped up and volunteered to drive the quicker way, taking the interstate around most of the park. While they were doing that, everyone else took the longer, but maybe more harrowing drive across these untouched lands in the twilight hours. In the end everyone made it safely to the campsite and we still ended up setting up a couple things in the dark. Even our more diligent plans seemed to fail…and of course we forgot a rain tarp for one of the tents!

This is not to say that any of us were discouraged by these unexpected course corrections. In fact, they added a bit of thrill to the experience. We woke up in the morning to a stunning sky and roaming buffalo next to the campsite. Educator John Eilen even took some time to commune with the local prairie dog community (he fit right in, as the prairie dog is his spirit animal). We took in the sights, which made for a great early morning, and set off for Mass in Rapid City at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Mass was refreshing, as it always seems to be, and we had some extra time to view the church and pray both before and after. The next stop was Mount Rushmore, so with quick jaunt from Rapid City, we viewed the impressive mountain sculptures, took in the history, and had a nice little hike. At this point, our second change of plans became inevitable. We intended to hike around Sylvan Lake that afternoon but the ever present enemy, fatigue, had set in on the party; so, it was decided we would take some time at the gift shop and then head over to the campsite early to start cooking supper. 

The final installment coming soon!

Stephen Barnhart