Northern Black Hills to Badlands National Park.
South Dakota is a located in the Northern Central Region of the USA. It is also part of the Great Plains. South Dakota is named after the Sioux Native American Tribe. (Dakota)
Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state’s population, and the area’s fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri River, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, but the economy is more dependent on tourism and defence spending.
Once we left Mt Rushmore we arrived in the Northern Part of the Black Hills.
The northern Part of the Black Hills is like stepping into a movie and meeting old west legends (Bonanza comes to mind) Deadwood is a classic example. This 1870 goldrush town is today a National Historic landmark. Deadwood at the time a tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. The discovery of gold in 1876 made Deadwood grow from a Tiny gold camp to a busy town with its saloon girls, gambling, and a whole lot of gun slinging, it became the birthplace of the real Wild West.
From 1876 until the 1980s, prostitution was Deadwood’s “not so little secret”. Miners were so happy to see the prostitutes roll into town that they lined the streets and clapped as the wagon passed by. After that, prospecting and prostitution went hand and hand in Deadwood. In fact, an entire city block was occupied by nothing but brothels.
Today Deadwood has become a tourist town with still lots of history mixed with hotels and casinos.
I Overlander directed us to a casino just outside town but as with so many I overlander sites in the USA it was full of huge trailers and motorhomes aircon and generators blasting and since this year the Casino decided to charge 50USD per night. Reason given was that local RV Parks (most look like converted carparks) complained about loosing business. We decided to follow the track to the top of the mountain and found a great little bush camp in the National Forest with an amazing view over the valley and Deadwood. While sitting around the fire we were waiting for Horse Cartright (Bonanza) to join us.
After a few nights we left our amazing bush camp and continued our journey to the next destination Badlands National Park.
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Badlands National Park is a natural beauty and geologic unique area. The rugged canyons, towering spires, and colourful rock formations create an awe-inspiring landscape that changes in colour all day long.
The park has lots of mixed-grass prairie where Black footed ferret, Black tailed prairie dog, Elk, Mule deer, Rattlesnakes, Swift fox, White tailed deer, Bison, Bighorn sheep, and Coyotes roam.
LOTS OF HISTORY
Like Mt Rushmore in the mid-1800, the USA assured the Sioux Indians that the Badlands shall forever be their property. But in 1889, this promise (treaty) was broken, and the Badlands were confiscated by the United States and unilaterally incorporated into a national park. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court awarded compensation to the Sioux Indians for the promises made in 1868 (treaty), but the Sioux did not accept the money they wanted their land back. Today the South Unit is being managed between National Parks and the Oglala Lakota tribe.
The South side of the park is entirely on Tribal Trust land, for the use and benefit of the tribal members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
The movies Dances with the Wolves and Thunder Heart were partially filmed in Badlands National Park. Here you also find the site of the ghost dances in 1890, and Red Shirt Table the highest point in the park.
We are so glad we visited Badlands National Park. After 3 days bush camping on the cliffs just North of the Park we decided to camp one more night but this time on the southside of the park where we were able to drive the tracks in and found a great spot between the rock formations around 5KM from the main road.
Till next time when we visit famous Wounded Knee (remember the song) from where we cross into Nebraska.
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