So much… so much has happened in the past four days! I knew going on a trip like this with Brie and Hannah would be magical, and it is… I'm gonna just go ahead and post our daily adventures, and keep my creative interpretations/personal reflections in my journal and post them later.
Sunday morning we found a little chapel in SD at a rest stop, and took a few minutes to go inside, sit on a wooden bench (Hannah carried me), and read Psalm 25 from an open Bible on an altar, and sing a couple praise songs. It felt very personal and intimate, and really blessed us.
Then we moved west, past a million roadside ads for “Wall Drug,” which is apparently an "American Treasure," and an "American Icon," and is "Priceless" and "Timeless"... we might have even decided to stop there, if it hadn't been for the obnoxious advertisements. As it is, we are wilderness trekkers, seeking adventure not in Commercial Tourism, but in the Great Unknown.
As we're cruising along the flat plain prairie land, we saw a rest stop that claimed "scenic overlook," which we just laughed at because all we could see was grass in all directions. But then we passed the rest stop and all gasped at the surprising view that dropped down below us - water, trees, and hills! So we had to loop back around to the overlook and take pictures. Serves us right for assuming we knew what was ahead.
And then we got to the Badlands! We had debated whether to pay for each national park individually or buy a year pass, but when we got to the entrance of the park, the lady asked if my disability was permanent, and I said yes, and she said, “Well then I just need you to sign this form…” I figured maybe my disability would give me some kind of discount so I complied without question. Then she handed me a pass, and said, “This is a lifetime pass for all the national parks in the country. Enjoy your stay!” ?!?!?! What just happened?! I stared dumbly at the card in my hand. Then as the reality sunk in - that I had been given a free lifetime pass to all the preserved wildlife in America - I began to hyperventilate. Seriously! We pulled over, and I burst into tears... a bit dramatic for me, but I was that overwhelmed. And the feeling kind of stayed with me all afternoon, because when we got out of the car, we beheld the beauty and awesomeness of the Badlands...
We split off on different trails - Brie and Hannah with their cameras, me with my journal - and met back a couple hours later after some inspiring time with our Father. I wrote some stuff about my time there, and I will post it later. But for now, just know that I've never seen anything like it - it looked to me like giant sand castles that just went on and on with majesty.
We stayed in a motel on the edge of the park that night, and planned to wake up for the sunrise on Monday...