On one of the weekends while participating in the palaeontology digging programme at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota in 2017 (see a previous blog called: It’s the same mouse!), our group were lucky enough to be taken around the local area.
So, on our free Saturday afternoon, we all piled into the van and headed off via Buffalo Gap and the Pine Ridge Reservation to the Badlands National Park.
The Badlands have a desolate and an eerie beauty. And even though we went at the end of May, when you don’t expect the heat to be too extreme, it was very hot.
Geologically the Badlands are fascinating. Historically they are contentious. It is the location of one of the largest Native American reservations (Pine Ridge).
We stopped at the Ben Reiffel Visitors Centre. Loads of excellent information here and the giftshop is filled with locally crafted Native American art and jewellery – so it well worth a mooch around.
We headed out into the National Park on a scenic drive, stopping at the Fossil Exhibit Trail. This is a very easy trail to do …a loop of less than half a mile on walkways…..and has some very interesting information about the fossils and geology in the area.
Stick to the walkway for obvious reasons.
Back in the van and onward towards Wall Drug.
Now, I need to tell you about this place for those who have never heard of Wall Drug.
It’s an example of what can only be described as very persistent marketing….there are billboards for this town all across the USA, advertising 5c coffees and free ice water.
Interestingly enough, the adverts have also gone international with one once being on the London Underground stating that Wall Drug was a mere 5160 miles away and worth a visit.
And it worked.
The town of Wall Drug has become a ‘must see’ on a trip to Black Hills and its filled with just the right amount of super cheesy touristy stuff…. so, as you would imagine, I absolutely loved it!
And in the backyard there’s a Jackalope.
Cue photo opportunity.
So, what exactly is a Jackalope?
It’s a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope, so effectively a giant rabbit with antlers. A supposed mythical creature but in reality the result of an ‘experiment’ by a pair of taxidermists from Wyoming in the early 1900s. Jackalopes have developed a bit of a cult following and by the way, if you want to catch one its quite easy as they have a massive weakness for whiskey.
Other than the Jackalope, there are so many shops to visit. More out of curiosity than to actually buy anything. One shop sold belt buckles and cowboy boots. Another crystals. And another dreamcatchers.
Loads of things to see and places to eat.
Just didn’t get around to that free ice water.
Maybe next time 😊
Note: all the photos included in this blog are my own.