A Cruise Through the Badlands
25.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” ― John Muir
It was our final morning Montana. Leaving is always so bittersweet. Every trip to those mountains cleans my spirit, fills my soul, and leaves me renewed in a way that nothing else can. We enjoyed one final morning by the fire, one final trip to the shores of a pristine lake, filled with the mountain runoff and so cold and pure that you can't help but marvel that there are still places like this.
Before heading back to the airport, we made a final stop at Montana Coffee Traders for my favorite breakfast.
And then it was time to lift off.
We decided on Wall, SD as a stopping point for the trip home, wanting to do another drive through the Badlands. We didn't realize that Wall doesn't even have a rental car agency, so imagine our surprise when we contacted the small Wall airport to inquire about transportation and the airport manager offered us use of his personal vehicle for our overnight stay.
The airport manager is also the Mayor of Wall. I joked that he is probably also the sherriff, the postman, and the City Judge, given the size of Wall. Seriously...who just lets a stranger use their truck for free? Wall is small town hospitality at its best.
He did warn us that all he had was a Ford Ranger pickup, but as my Grandaddy used to say, "A free ride is better than a proud walk," we we crammed ourselves into the mini seats in the back and were on our way! Classy.
Yee-Haw! We were doing it South Dakota style, y'all!
We checked in to the Frontier Cabins, and were pleasantly surprised at the cozy, clean cabins that waited for us. It was a great place to stay, although, there were an inordinate number of fake animals on the premises, some in better shape than others. It was sort of like staying in a giant putt putt golf course.
My favorite was this quadriplegic squirrel. He has seen better days and lended an element of creepy to an otherwise charming place to stay.
Note to self: yard ornaments are not always cute.
We paid an obligatory visit to the Wall Drug Store, where I scored an awesome $10 pair of spa sandals, which were exactly what my tortured feet were begging for.
Then it was off to drive the Badlands Loop in our super slick Ford Ranger Pick up.
With a storm rolling in the distance, the Badlands were simply awesome. We saw bighorn sheep, bison, coyotes, a double rainbow and prairie dogs before finding some dinner nearby.
There isn't a lot to choose from in the Badlands, so we grabbed some dinner at the Wagon Wheel in Interior. This was literally a hole-in-the-wall bar, but the pizza was hot and delicious.
As the sun dropped lower in the sky, the canyons were illuminated. It was a magic moment, one of those few that life offers up to you as a gift. I sat mesmerized as everything turned golden and the world was ablaze with the dying rays of the sun. I realized how big this world that God had created is and what a small piece of it I am. I felt blessed to be lucky enough to enjoy another special moment in God's creation and I was reminded that this is what matters, this is what is eternal, and I vowed to carry that remembrance home with me to help me keep sight of what is truly important in life.
Life is not about paychecks and 8 hour days. Life is not about worrying what to wear tomorrow or where you are going to eat tonight. Life is not about the car you drive or the house you live in. It's not about who likes you and who doesn't. Life is about the gifts that God has given us. God gave us so much and asks us for so little in return. And I am thankful for this great, big beautiful world and for my part in it, no matter how small or fleeting.
Truly, God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful.