The clock on the wall in the incredibly small kitchen I work in read “6:30pm” as I excitedly dumped out the dirty mop bucket, and made my final walk through. Equipment cleaned, check. Everything stocked, check. Temps taken, check. Fudge case closed, check. Lights off, CHECK! Another day full of hard work was over finally, and I was headed to the back to clock out, hand in my radio, and step out into the fresh air.
As soon as I arrived at my car I grabbed my phone to see where I was going. ( I have this thing where whoever makes a plan with me first for that day is who I initially meet up with after work. If no one texts/calls me before I reach my front door than I stay in for the night.) What I wasn’t expecting was to have an unread message from my best friend that read “Adventure?”. As if that could possibly be a question. It was so simple, but full of so many possibilities, and by far my favorite text I have ever received. I didn’t ask questions, I didn’t need to know anything else, I was already in so I messaged back “YES!”, and headed to Box Elder to meet her at her house. A few minutes after I arrived we hopped into her car, got on the interstate, and started heading down I-90 East.
As we drove east the sun went down behind us, disappearing behind the silhouette of the Black Hills, and the light of the full moon took over. It was about an hour drive full of loud music, snacks, and laughter. At Wall, SD we headed south off the interstate, and into the quiet darkness of the plains. After miles of nothingness a sign emerged from the darkness, illuminated by the headlights of our car. I had my friend pull over to the should so I could snap the above photo.
Another mile up the road there sat two toll booths, completely alone, like two tiny houses that where dropped in the middle of some random field. (That’s what they looked like at night, at least.) It was almost eerie looking at them with only our headlights and the moon to illuminate them. I won’t lie, for a brief second I really thought a crazy person was going to run out of one of them, and attack us, but that’s just my imagination.
Anywho, there’s something you need to know about the Badlands, for if you ever decide to go see it, and that is that it sneaks up on you. Literally, you will drive past those toll booths, and find yourself looking around for what feels like way to long, and see even more of that nothingness you saw before you entered. You will almost get to the point where you want to turn around, and then WHAM!, the plains and rolling hills come to a sudden end, and the earth plummets down into beautiful, jagged, painting worthy scenery. And that’s coming from someone who could only see it thanks to a full moon.
We drove the whole loop, which took around an hour I believe, and enjoyed being the only people there. I never really got over the fact that I had left my camera at home (still not over it), because everywhere I looked I had the strong urge to get a photo. There’s truly something magical about a national park, under a full moon in September. I wouldn’t change that night for anything.
Alrighty guys, that’s it for story time! But hey, just curious, what’s your favorite place to adventure to? Drop it in the comments, or on one of my other social media sites if you’d like!