Today we watched an introductory video to Badlands National Park, and they went on and on about how hard a time the first settlers had it. Bosh. Tammy and I could have shown them a thing or two.
We started today with a horseback ride into the hills. And it was so easy! I mean, as soon as you step off the platform to your saddled horse, it pretty much stops and goes when the horse in front of it does, and it just sticks to the trail. Since we weren’t allowed to trot them or anything, I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure using horses for all your transportation and farming needs is no big deal.
And then they went on and on about the harsh Badlands country. Wah wah wah. All we could see from the boardwalk lookouts (with our binoculars and as we sipped fresh water from our camelbacks) was fantastic, rugged beauty. We didn’t see any of those rattlesnakes all the signs warn so much about. And as for the wind, well, I can say from the vantage point of my tent that has a laptop cord strung to the electric box outside, that the wind sounds just beautiful and is refreshing. Just take it from us, two newly-self-proclaimed experts: pioneering really couldn’t have been all that bad.
OK – I have to say that today was great. The horseback riding really was fun and wandering up and down through pine forests was, well, just lovely. And I think we both would say the Badlands are breathtaking. We’ll be sharing heaps o’ photos as soon as we’re reunited with Tammy’s camera’s cord. The heat and ruggedness are respect-inducing: you can’t but admire the native people who originally made this their home and fought to retain it, and then the European settlers who came for the promise of land only to find soil that would not support small-scale farming. Given the myriad conveniences that we surround ourselves with even as we visit places like this, it’s hard to imagine what life was like for those who fought for existence here. It makes me grateful – both for the opportunity to learn and for what I have!