Out West, Day 3

Our third day out west has been a full one. We spent the day touring Badlands National Park and it was incredible. I’m really thankful that Sunny is taking a ton of photos and keeping a more detailed photo log of our trip over at her blog, but the pictures don’t even do justice to the topography. In some ways, the landscape is harsh enough to be unsightly, but there’s also a powerful sense of beauty here. I know this will be a day we’ll remember for a long time.

IMG_0709We drove a little further and entered the park at the northeast entrance closest to the Visitor’s Center. We stopped at the first overlook and took plenty of pictures. Of course, the boys were super excited to run around and take it all in — especially Jackson. I could totally see him working out here one day as a park ranger or something.

Jackson "in the cleft of the rock"

Jackson “in the cleft of the rock”

Our first hike of the day was the most rigorous – Notch Trail. Halfway through the hike, there’s a huge ladder that you have to climb. I think the hike is only 1.5 miles, but our crew was plenty winded after climbing the ladder. While the others sat in the shade and rehydrated, Jackson and I finished the hike which summits at a beautiful point overlooking the White River Valley.

We also completed two other hikes, Door and Window, each of which was less than a mile. But after Notch, nobody was complaining about that. In fact, by the time we were ready to take on Door Trail, the girls decided to wait in the car while the men folk set out for a final expedition. At the end of the Door Trail, the boys and I took a celebratory selfie.

IMG_0726

These Badlands start treating us good

At the end of Door Trail, the boys and I sat down to rest. I don’t know how it happened, but we had an impromptu devotional right there on the spot, thanking God for creating such wondrous beauty and allowing us to witness it. After our prayer, Jackson sat by himself for a few minutes and I snapped this candid picture of my boy taking in the wonder of God’s creation.

IMG_0729After our hikes, we hit up the Visitor’s Center again for some snacks before driving through the scenic loop. We saw all kinds of animals: prairie dogs, mountain goats, pronghorns, etc. It was great to just take our time driving through and soaking in the sights here.

We finished the evening with dinner at Wall Drug Store. This was one of my favorite days. So grateful for this time together as a family.

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