First Road Trip Stop: The Badlands
Technically speaking my first stop was Wilson State Park in Kansas. Although it was pretty it was completely uninteresting and all I did there was eat, sleep and leave. So for all intents and purposes the Badlands was my first stop. I got a campsite in the same campground that I’d stayed at with my mom when she bravely took me on a road trip when I was 13. Imagine voluntarily trapping yourself alone with a 13 year old girl in a car and wilderness for weeks on end. It’s the stuff of nightmares. I got into the Badlands early in the afternoon and would be leaving first thing in the morning so I didn’t have time to do much, but fortunately there aren’t many trails in the Badlands.
I started with the Notch Trail which was a fun little trail that included a ladder/staircase up the sandstone that defines the Badlands and weaves through and over different formations. The trail is clearly marked but there are also opportunities to duck off to the side to explore different little canyons and secret caves. On the way back I noticed that there were nests made of sandstone. It looked as if swallows had been mixing spittle with dust to create a kind of clay and building their nests right into the rock walls. They blended almost perfectly and it was so cool to see swallows flitting in and out of these solid constructions.
After wandering around the Window and checking out a few overlooks I was starting to get hungry so I decided to do just part of the Castle Trail. I walked it until it was fully immersed in the sandstone formations and then I turned around and headed back. It was a very cool trail but I was so hungry and it was almost 7. Food is very important to me. If I had more time I would have loved to do the whole trail, and I definitely recommend it.