Road Trip to the Black Hills

This is part 2 of my super exciting and somewhat spur of the moment road trip to South Dakota during July fourth weekend. A little late but trust me I needed this time to gather my thoughts. I spent the first day and night it the dry and rugged terrain known as the Badlands, which truly was an unforgettable experience. Hiking and camping in 100 degree heat with zero sleep was just a small obstacle to overcome that quickly got washed away as soon as I saw how beautiful this place was. Day one was a success. I climbed the stunning formations, saw an unbelievable sunset and slept under the milky way, not to mention, I made it out alive which is a feat in itself. I packed up camp and got back on the road for day two of this little southwest adventure. Next stop, the Black Hills National Forest.

Mount Rushmore

Many know the Black Hills because I suppose there’s this famous monument of some older gentleman carved in the granite face of a place called Mount Rushmore. Unlike me, you may actually have some of these faces in your purse or wallet. I’m not going to lie, I wanted to see Mount Rushmore just to say that I saw it. In actuality, it was pretty surreal to see something that you’ve seen countless pictures of, in movies and magazines; it was kind of like meeting a celebrity. Yeah, that’s a pretty accurate comparison for me.

No Agenda

I went into this trip with an open heart and no agenda. I drove wherever the rode led me, stopped at places that caught my eye and would sleep wherever I felt tired. A good plan right?

A few highlights worth mentioning, well for me of course, was frankly how picturesque the landscape and the roads through the Black Hills were. Winding roads carving through the forest, protected by the jagged rocks and tranquil lakes. One of those being Pactola Lake, where I randomly stopped and jumped in for a quick swim and may as well have gotten a free shower while I was at it too. This was the first time that, I truly enjoyed the opportunity to dispersed or wild camp and this was honestly the highlight of my trip. I wrote a little story about that experience here which really put this whole trip in perspective.

All in all, this was an amazing trip filled with indescribable experiences traveling through an absolutely breathtaking place. I hope you found at least one thing amusing here, because I enjoyed living through every second of this. On to the next, back to Chicago I go.

My road trip’s food for thought

I wish I could tell you that I have everything figured out or have plans for where or what I’m going to do in the future let alone tomorrow but I don’t. I used to have a need to know what was going to happen, a concrete plan or what I’m going to do tomorrow because uncertainty meant anxiety. A routine was comfortable and was quite great while it lasted, well I thought. But I look around and there’s absolutely nothing certain that I see. Quite frankly there’s nothing certain about the world or life in general.

We live in a world that is at our fingertips with opportunities and adventures everywhere; we are more connected to each other than ever before but at the same time apprehensive by that unpredictability. The moment I decided to do something that I was completely scared shitless about was the day that I realized that there’s not big secret to life.

Never fear missing something better than where you are – there is nothing greater than where you are right now no matter how challenging it may seem.
Christian Watson, 1924

Fear is an emotion that tells you that someone, something or some place is dangerous. It kept me alive but kept me from living. It’s not for everyone, the whole living in the moment aspect of life and it definately has it’s ups and downs, but it’s a feeling that has shaped my life for the better. I’m more spontaneous than ever and it has taken me to beautiful places that I never thought I’d ever be. I used to always want to live comfortably, that was my goal. Now I just want to live happily, which in most cases is not very comfortable but it sure is exciting. A road trip to the Badlands and Black Hills was two of those many places. Happy adventuring.

Love it or hate it, your welcome to leave your thoughts in the comments; I’d love to hear what you think!

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