After about 1 hour of sleep from our night out on the town before, we set off to South Dakota (not before getting a $20 quiche breakfast downtown, whoops). It was pouring rain as we left the city, and our first destination was Minneopa State Park, about an hour and a half outside the city. The drive was so beautiful with all the greenery, it almost seemed jungle like and I forgot I was driving through farmland. It was so green here! Minneopa State Park had a bison enclosure that we could drive through (did you know Bison can run up to three times as fast as you can sprint?). This is the warning the sign gave us to urge us to stay in our cars… And of course, it’s not a state park without a waterfall or two!
We continued on our way and passed into South Dakota.Our first stop was Palisades State Park. This place was so neat! In the middle of plains and fields and farmland, this mini Jurassic Park like park rested in the middle amongst it all. If you weren’t looking for it, you could easily drive right by it since it’s so small.
We continued into Sioux Falls. Falls Park in the middle of the town has a huge area with many waterfalls flowing into each other. Besides it smelling like stinky fish (not exactly sure why), it was beautiful!
We continued further into South Dakota with hopes of seeing Badlands National Park before the sun set (thank goodness for late sunsets). We made it! And yay to my national park pass that I only had to use at this spot on the entire trip. It was gorgeous, especially at sunset. We saw big horned sheep, deer, and had beautiful panoramic views of the plains around us against a sunset backdrop.
We used Couchsurfing.com again to secure a host for the night in Rapid City. Brady, a wildlife biologist (he has pictures of him with POLAR BEARS in his house, HOW COOL RIGHT), took us out to a favorite brewery of his downtown where Marie and I stuffed our faces with pizza (we deserved it OKAY). Thankfully we didn’t stay out until 5 am this time and we got a great night of sleep.