A Little Background…
The following post was written by Isle Box Creative Director Alex Kocher. At the time, Alex was leaving home and looking to set up shop in a new home: Portland, OR. While on his journey from Ohio, he took the long way and hit a number of National Parks en route. The post below details his experiences while driving through Minnesota and into South Dakota where he explored the Badlands National Park. Enjoy!
The next leg of my journey took me from Minneapolis, Minnesota to western South Dakota in search of the Badlands National Park. I arrived at the next camp site in the dark. A late start and the apparent morning exodus from the city pushed my arrival time well beyond sunset.
The land leveled, the bones retreated into the earth and the concrete became gravel. Soon after, the gravel became dirt. I finally pulled into camp. I could see a few other tents already pitched and so I quietly assembled mine. Exhausted from nearly ten hours of driving, with Cedar in the tent, I finally put my head down to rest.
Sage Creek was a campsite recommended by my Minnesotans after beers and Cribbage. Michael had been there before and it sounded like a great plan. Remote and wild. Exactly what I want from this adventure. Darkness though, has its way of making the remote and wild seem a lot bigger. The night sky was cloudy and I could only see as far as my headlights could illuminate. Walls of bone white rock rose above us and disappeared into the darkness. As I burrowed deeper into the valley, I could feel the immense scale of the landscape that was opening up before me–but I couldn’t see it. I knew it was far and no doubt beautiful. It was then, winding down roads I had never been before, past the stone vertebrae of the Badlands, I knew that this was the truly the beginning of my adventure.
Sleep didn’t come easy that night. There was a pack of coyotes in the area, howling to one another. Communicating as they scampered across the grasslands. Cedar howled and barked in response. I couldn’t gauge how close they were or how many were prowling about in the darkness, but my attention quickly shifted to a deeper rumbling off in the distance. I knew some of what wildlife lived in this region, but it wasn’t until morning that my thoughts were confirmed.
For all the mystery the Badlands kept that night, I was truly rewarded with waking up somewhere very surprising.