At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Boondocking night #5...Toadstool Geologic Park

After our internet stop at Custer, South Dakota yesterday, we headed for Wind Cave National Park. We like caves, and thought about doing one of their tours. But at $12 USD ($16 CAD) per person we decided instead to do a hike. For free. :-)

Wind Cave National Park has highway 385 running right through it. There are a lot of bison in the park, and so you have to watch for them!

Here's a big fellow...

Bison are so prehistoric looking!

After talking to one of the park rangers, we decided to do the fairly short Cold Brook Canyon hike, at 2.8 miles (4.6 kms). Sherman parked in the pulloff, and off we went.

Ruth, on the Cold Brook Canyon trail.

The trail crosses a prairie dog "town", as they call it, and sure enough the curious little critters poked their heads up to watch us walk through. They sure are funny little animals.

Poking his head up to have a look see.

Look at the size of the front claws!

Ruth. That pine tree looked like it was growing out of the rock.

This was as far as we could go. The trail actually crossed that swampy stream, but we didn't have any ambition to get our feet wet!

Back at Sherman. He's actually parked right beside the highway, but you can't see that in this pic.

A nice short hike, just enough to get the blood flowing.

Better to drive slowly...there are some large obstacles on the road!

We stopped in the town of Hot Springs to get some gas. This was the second fuel stop of the trip. We use gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest fuel along the way. Our first fill up was in North Dakota at $2.499 USD per gallon ($0.89 CAD per litre) and this time it was at $2.379 USD per gallon ($0.83 CAD per litre). But we didn't fill right up this time because from this point on, fuel tends to get cheaper the further south we go. For example, there are places in north Texas where gasoline is $1.899 USD per gallon ($0.66 CAD per litre).

We crossed the border in to Nebraska, another new state for us. Then, we had a 13 mile (19 km) drive on a dirt road. Fortunately, it was in pretty good shape.

The road to Toadstool Geologic Park.

Ruth had read about the Toadstool Geologic Park...a place where erosion has caused some amazing looking geographic formations. And, they have a small campground (6 sites) here too. There's a $3 day use fee to park and go for a hike, or $2 more to camp overnight. Okay...that works for us!

Sherman's campsite. GPS 43.897975,-103.5363935

The place was empty when we arrived here, other than some construction equipment. We got parked up and paid our fee, and then a couple of dumptrucks arrived and the noise started. Turns out they are rebuilding one of the pathways. But it was already mid afternoon, and sure enough they quit around 4:30pm. And today being Saturday, they weren't working at all.

We actually sat outside and relaxed for an hour, and then went for a hike amongst the eroding hills.

Many of the larger "toadstools" have actually fallen over during the last 100 years due to further erosion. However other new ones are forming.

This rabbit blends in well.

Zoomed in.

Neat rock formations.

Erosion.

And more. 

Kevin,   sitting on the same formation.

Ruth. Careful...not too close!

Overlooking the campground at dusk.

Slept like a rock. Much warmer too...it was still 60F (15C) in the motorhome when we woke up this morning, and they're calling for a high of 80F (27C) today. Shorts and t-shirt weather!

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34 comments:

  1. Interesting area for sure! Gas is 2.11 here. Isn't it nice when the prices are going down instead of up?

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    1. Especially when you are driving a motorhome yes, it is wonderful to see the price of gas going down. :-)

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  2. Are the prairie dogs similar to gophers? 25 forecast for Regina today!

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    1. Yes, they are similar but there are definite differences between the two.

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  3. I spy a Casita! That is what we have. Safe travel you all!

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    1. Yes, I do believe it was a Casita. :-)

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  4. Sorry you missed Wind Cave. It's really interesting. Nice hike and great looking little campground with just about the right number of neighbors. Glad to see all the pictures of you two together. Nice touch.

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    1. There is always the next time. One of the reasons we didn't do the cave tour is that it really wasn't the tour we would have liked to have taken. At this time of year they don't offer all the tours. The other reasons were that we really wanted to do a hike there and our time is limited also once you add in the exchange rate it really starts to hit the wallet for us. This trip through the States isn't our normal way of travel and part of that is because of the exchange rate so we are trying to do things that are free instead. We will be through this area again I am sure, and hopefully then the Canadian dollar will be stronger.

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  5. I agree that Wind Cave is a great place to visit. Maybe next time. Safe travels!

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    1. We will stop by here again and do the cave tour on another trip through the area. There were also more hikes there that we would like to do here too.

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  6. Never heard of Toadstool Geologic Park. What a beautiful place. I love the geology of the area.

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    1. It was a cool spot, and the clay and sandstone formations we pretty neat looking. Highly recommend a stop here if you are in the area.

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  7. Do you worry about buffalo on your hike? Do you take anything o n your hikes for protection of animals?

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    1. Nope we don't worry about the bison at all. Actually we saw several on our hike to Cold Brook Canyon but they were all a fair distance away so there were no worries. The main thing to remember is to give them their distance and not try to approach them. No we don't carry anything for protection against animals. We try to be aware of where we are and keep a careful lookout but we have never had a problem. If we were hiking in a very active grizzly bear territory then I am sure we would buy some bear spray to take along.

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    2. The likelihood that you would be attached by a wild animal is pretty slim in the whole scheme of things.

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  8. Love your photos- so you have a tripod? what type of camera do you have?

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    1. Most of the pictures we take of the two of us are just from placing the camera on a post or stone that is reasonably level. We do carry a small tripod with us but honestly we don't use it too often. Our main camera is a Nixon P520 which the majority of our pictures are taken with and our other camera is a small point and shoot Fujifilm XP80 that is waterproof. I usually use it and most of the pictures taken as we are driving along are with that one although some of the pictures on our hike are with it as well. I find the small point and shoot camera very limited though.

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    2. I think I'll have to try the timed photos some time- as I have never done this. I have a small digital camera- Fuji as well. It seems like the Nixon does quite a nice job!

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    3. Timed photos are really easy to do, once you have done them once or twice. Kevin has been very happy with his Nixon, it is also pretty easy to carry around.

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  9. If you publish your intended route to Laredo, I'm sure some readers would chime in with good suggestions on attractions and places to stay...

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    1. Thanks Dugg, we may just do that and we also had someone on one of the facebook groups also make the same suggestion. Having said that we haven't had problems finding places to park for the night.

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  10. That photo of the erosion with Kevin is quite interesting. Without the perspective that Kevin gives, it looks like a much larger formation than it is

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    1. That's what I thought and that's why I asked Kevin to sit there, otherwise as you said you may have thought it was quite large.

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  11. Some more wonderful scenery , and a nice hike makes for a wonderful day.

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  12. We went on one of the tours at Wind Cave. There was only one other person with us and the ranger took us on a more extended tour than we had paid which was fantastic. We loved seeing all the bison around there.

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    1. Now that sounds like the way we would want to do a cave tour! The whole area around there is wonderful. We need to go back again and explore more of it when we have the time, including at least one of the cave tours.

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  13. Love the comments as well about "Sherman" and how you've given him a name.. you always make us smile :)

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    1. Believe it or not, many RVer's name their units! ;-)

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  14. We really enjoyed Toadstool while there last year. You cannot run out of hikes in that area. We found some petrified wood close by.

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    1. Yes, it seems that you can wander all around. They actually only have the 1 proper trail that is 1 mile long but they also have the Bison Trail that takes you the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center which is a 3 mile trail. This second hike will take you to a bison kill area and bone bed but the center itself was closed at this time of year. It is easy though to go off trail and just wander around, the formations are so interesting.

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  15. Always love a nice rock formation and this certainly ticks that box. Looks amazing. Don;t you wish you'd learnt more about geology at school ???

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    1. So do we and yes, there was certainly lots to look at here. They had information boards up that explained about the geology of the area very well as well as the types of animals that used to live here and that you can now see signs of in the fossils around the area. It's amazing how much more you want to learn about things when you get older than when you are in school.

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