Exploring the Badlands in South Dakota

We started our day at the Minuteman Missile NHS. This was home to the Delta 1 rockets. For over 30 years rockets were kept at the ready during the Cold War. There were well over 1000 ready to launch at any time. We toured one of the launch facilities on the visit. We laughed at the Domino’s Pizza spoof. It is terrifying to know that we had to and still haveto be this guarded in our county. We learned a lot about the security systems and what protocols had to happen to launch the missiles. He even found a spelling error “Emergancy Exit”. The building is exactly the state it was in when it was shut down in the late 1980s. We got to go down into the launch pod. The men would spend a few days down in the pods. I am sure they would go nuts with all the buzzing and flashing lights. If the center got a bomb threat call this was the list they had to complete for each call. After the tour we drove through the Badlands and took several hikes. We hiked the Window and Door trails. It was quite warm compared to the last few days. We only hiked out a mile and then back since we didn’t have water with us. The Badlands are the result of  deposition and then erosion events. Sand, silt and clay pressed together to form the sedimentary rocks during the late Cretaceous period.  When you look out further you can see all the different colors in the rock layers. Based on the color you could tell if the rock was 35 millions years old or 75 million years old! Pretty cool! Next we hiked the Cliff Shelf Trail. It was a much different terrains. It was rich with flora and fauna. We took Buff-a-duck on a tour!  Again we were nearly beat out by the elevation changes but stuck with it for the amazing hike! After a lot of hiking and exploring we stopped at Wall Drug for lunch and silly exploring of all the shops. We enjoyed donuts, chicken and lots of cold water! And of course I rode the 12′ jackalope! Our final stop before returning to Custer was at the Ellsworth AFB Air and Space Museum. We have been here before too. We were hoping to get a tour of Delta 9 but since we were off season they tours only ran on the weekend. We explored the center and headed home after a long, yet amazing, day of exploring. 

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