We walked over to the Visitor Center to get our National Park Pass this morning and Kevin asked the park ranger which hikes were good. The park ranger said, "I don't know. I'm not much of a hiker." That was it. He pushed her a little bit with more questions ("Which hikes have you heard are good, then?") and she reluctantly pointed to a couple on the map. Hm. Some park ranger! Also, the campground only takes cash (exact change $10/night) and she couldn't give us any change so we headed into the town of Interior and got some iced tea and some change at a little market on the corner.
Interior is a tiny, tiny town.
It's got two churches, a couple of tiny stores, and this tiny tiny jail:
We came back to the campground and paid for our spot for another night, then headed out to drive the scenic loop. It's really, very scenic!
We stopped at Roberts Prairie Dog Town to see some of the little guys poppin' up:
This eagle was trolling for some slow prairie dogs:
A little further down the road we saw a herd of bighorn sheep:
Then after all that scenic stuff, we ended up stopping (finally, after all those crazy signs) to see Wall Drug. We grabbed some lunch in town (the town of Wall, South Dakota) and stopped at a little grocery store and then headed back toward camp. We stopped in at the visitor center for the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and looked at their exhibits and watched a short informative video. I think we're going to go back in the morning for the tour. We'll get to see the missile silo, and go down into the Underground Launch Control Center.
We stopped at a couple of trail heads before we got back to the campground and did a little hiking.
So you walk out first on this little boardwalk deal and then there's a spot where you can take some steps down to the terrain. (Being ware of rattlesnakes, of course, as the sign said.) This is where we were hiking:
The "trail" is marked with these 10-inch tall markers that are numbered….when you get to the first one, you scan around the landscape for the next one, and so on. It's a great way to mark a trail like this (and maybe one of the only ways it would work in this crazy terrain)…plus, it makes the hike feel a little like a game.
We're back at camp now and planning to grill up some salmon and zucchini for dinner tonight (and probably get a jump on tomorrow's work day so we can go see the missile thing!)