Sunday, 11 July 2010

Day 53 Kadoka to Interior

Sunday 11th July
Daily mileage 31miles Average Speed 11.7mph Ride Time 2hr40min
Total Mileage 2083
Up and out for a coffee and muffin at the gas station we made it back on highway 16 by 8am. We cycled the same 7 mile stretch for the 3rd time and tried to ignore the horror of yesterday which we both have bruises on our face and arms from the quarter size hale stones! We continued for another 12 miles with blue sky all around but still much cooler than yesterday thank goodness! We arrived at Cactus flat for a quick loo break and it was not flat and there were no cactuses.
3miles up highway 240 we entered Badlands National Park and the terrain went from flat green farmers fields to an awe inspiring moonscape of tormented ridges, crumby spires and precipitous canyons stretching as far as the eye can see. We stopped at the many viewpoints looking out across the Badlands and also got off the bikes and ventured in and amongst the structures. It is quite unbelievable for a National Park, that you are allowed to wander anywhere and climb anywhere providing you watch out for rattlesnakes!
You can imagine this place is like a huge playground and Kris was in his element! We hiked the Notch Trail which entailed climbing a wooden ladder and a narrow steep trail through a white valley high in the rocks. It was an effort after 30miles of riding but it was well worth it. It was breathtaking to look out across the Badlands and it was interesting to learn that they formed inch by inch over millions of years as wind and rain sliced into volcanic ash and the soft sediment left behind by an ancient marshland.
We could see more rain on the horizon and after the ranger advised of another thunderstorm warning we learned our lesson and got an air conditioned cabin in a campground for the night. It’s actually a wooden shed with a tin roof and 4 bunk beds so we will rest easy tonight with the Badlands as our backdrop and set off early tomorrow.

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