Category Archives: Adventures

Climb of Badlands Mountain

Badland Mountain

It was a wonderful day in Badlands National Park. Two girls, Mellisa and Kristiana were racing to Ben Reifel Visiter Center when Mellisa spotted the eerie peaks of Badlands Mountain! Sliding to a stop Mellisa said “Hey! Kristiana, have you ever seen that big mountain before?” “No!” she exclaimed, “It’s called Badlands Mountain. Have you heard the stories about that place?” asked Mellisa. “No, should I know about them?” responded Kristiana. “Are you kidding me?! I’ve talked about the tales of Badlands Mountain with some of my friends! Ok, I have to explain the rumors of this place.” “How many stories are there?” asked Kristiana. “There are four stories in all but I’ll just tell you the main one for now” Replied Mellisa. “Ok” Kristiana said.

Mellisa started: “So, there are rumored to be 5,000,000 pieces of gold at the top put there by ancient mammoth hunters who mysteriously disappeared on top of Badlands Mountain. Many have attempted to climb to the top in search of this gold but only one is said to have made it – Charles Goff the 3rd.” “You mean Ana’s dad?” Kristiana asked. Ana was one of their friends back in the little town of Wall. Mellisa continued “Yes, that’s the one and he has never returned. Many people believe he found the gold and headed for California. Others believe he was killed by a ghost that watches over this treasure waiting for the mammoth hunters to return. Do you want to know why it’s called Badlands Mountain?” asked Mellisa. “Of Course!” Responded Kristiana with a puzzled look. “Boulders fall suddenly on top of anyone who even tries to climb the mountain. People say the ghost pushes them.  If the boulders are not successful in keeping away an intruder, he summons the big dragon to help guard his treasure. Anyone who gets even close to the middle is said to be carried off by the dragon and never seen again.” “Wait, what dragon?” asked Kristiana.

badlands night

“Have you heard any growling at night or even a flash of golden light?” Mellisa responded. “Yes but I was always told it’s just my imagination?” said Kristiana. “It’s not your imagination!” exclaimed Mellisa. “It’s the dragon warning people during the night.” “Well that dragon did a good job, it sure scared me!” replied Kristiana. Mellisa continued, “Yes, anyway every year at least one person attempts to find that treasure and never returns. It is assumed they die because they are never seen again. There is another person that almost made it to the top but just as he reached the peak the dragon swooped down and knocked him down all the way to the bottom. The poor man lost most of his memory so we still don’t know what it looks like up there! I just wish I could see it. Anyway, besides the boulders and dragon, there are secret traps such as poisonous snake pits, and hidden caves. So it’s impossible to get to the top alive!” announced Mellisa. So, do you get the main point, if you even try to do it, you’ll fail and never be heard from again. So don’t get any ideas!”

Blue-Dragon

“But you’re not a normal person” said Kristiana “you have abilities that I have not seen in anyone else. What if you use your powers to protect us, and to become friends with the dragon and the ghost, you could use the dragon to fly up…” “NO! My powers are limited. We could die trying!” replied Mellisa. “But if anybody has a chance to get to the top you do” said Kristiana. Mellisa responded “You do have a good point… If we spend the rest of this day gather the necessary items we could climb Badlands Mountain tomorrow. Fine we’ll leave in the morning. But if I need help you have to do exactly what I tell you, do you understand?” asked Mellisa “Yes I do! Thank you sooooooooo much! I’ve wanted to go on an adventure my whole life, especially a dangerous one!” Kristiana replied “You want to die!?” Mellisa asked. “No! I just want a really cool adventure!” said Kristiana “Oh, I see. Well we better get started on packing our supplies” Said Mellisa and off they went.

To Continue click here…..

Going Underground in Wind Cave (part III)

The Natural Entrance to Wind Cave
The Natural Entrance to Wind Cave

Getting back to the visitor’s center it was time to determine how we would spend the rest of this day. It was early afternoon and time for something to eat. We traveled to a nearby town and enjoyed a small town restaurant before continuing our explorations of Wind Cave National Park. Returning to the visitor’s center once again it was decided to spend the rest of our time as surface dwellers since there are thousands of acres to explore. A trip to this cave would not be complete without experiencing the natural entrance which was amazingly small with a lot of air movement which is how it was first discovered. Apparently two brothers were passing by and heard a loud whistling. Upon further investigation they found the vast network of caves below that caused this sound due to the attempt at equalizing atmospheric pressure. Since then over a hundred miles of this cave have been discovered. It is estimated that this accounts for only 5% of the entire cave. Try to imagine over 2,500 miles of caves and passageways beneath the surface. That’s the equivalent of driving from Buffalo, NY to Los Angeles, CA!

A Deer Playing Tag as we Drove Along Side
A Deer Playing Tag as we Drove Along Side

Once the natural entrance was found we decided to get in the car and drive some of the unpaved roads in an effort to explore some of the prairie protected by this national park. Early on we encountered a pronghorn deer that wanted to play for a short time. We would stop the car and this deer would run ahead of us for a distance staying next to the road and then stop and watch to see what we were doing. We continued forward as this deer decided to wait until we were again next to it. Once we pulled alongside it ran ahead again, stopped, and waited anxiously. Again we drove ahead to meet it only to have this deer run further along the road. This went on a few times before the pronghorn grew tired of the game and left. Our next encounter was single buffalo standing near the road allowing birds to perch on its back. We found this entertaining for a few moments and then continued on. The top of a hill was reached and below waited a breathtaking sight of this never ending prairie. Looking over the grass as it waved in the breeze along with the occasional stand of trees appeared as though out of a painting from a century ago. Over on the hillside rested some animals. They turned out to be a herd of elk resting in the mid-afternoon sun while darker clouds began to roll in indicating a potential storm. There were a couple of hundred elk comprising this herd allowing us to watch from a distance as they lazily meandered about. There were no horns on any of these elk causing us to wonder where the bulls could be. Our day was growing long and we had to return to our hotel in time to catch a wink or two before getting up early to participate in the Independence Day celebration at Mt. Rushmore.

A Herd of Elk Lazily Grazing in the Afternoon Sun
A Herd of Elk Lazily Grazing in the Afternoon Sun

 

On our way back through Custer State Park we encountered another herd of buffalo. After a few moments of gazing at these grazing animals we moved on. Another few miles down the road we saw the next spectacle – a herd of donkeys. This was a complete surprise as I hadn’t imaged donkeys in the wild. Here they were and demanded another stop to take it all in. They were very friendly and seemed to enjoy our company as much as we enjoyed watching them. Finally, we needed to depart for our journey back to Custer to grab a bite to eat and plan the next day’s activities before falling asleep. This was another in a string of very memorable adventures and once again proves that confronting that which you may fear will help you learn more about that fear.

A Storm Approaching Out on the Prairie
A Storm Approaching Out on the Prairie

To View More Photos of Wind Cave click here….