Bright and early Sunday morning, the August Pine Ridge team headed out for South Dakota. Our three vehicles pulled out of the parking lot, destined for the badlands and then Kyle. The trip went smoothly (after we had ironed out our issue regarding a couple lead-footed drivers leaving the others in the dust), and after a few stops for gas and lunch, the team pulled through the entrance to the Badlands National Park.
The August team proved to be pretty adventurous. All the students climbed up to the very top of one of the cliffs in the park and took in some absolutely beautiful views (sorry mom, for hiking so high and close to the edge). With some warnings from other group members and the voiced concerns of random strangers, all the climbers were able to make it down the intense slope with only a few scratches and no one left behind.
Thirsty for even more adventure, our team plus another member headed over to Jacob’s Ladder. Our group had grown by one to include a nurse practitioner who had traveled all the way from Connecticut to join us on the reservation. The group hiked back into the rock to find the ladder. All of the group climbed up at least part of the way up, and at least half did the whole trip to the end of the trail. Even our oldest team member joined our trek to the observation point, which provided us with some very rewarding views.
After we finished up our hikes, we headed straight for the Lakota Prairie Ranch Resort in Kyle. At around 6 pm, we finally pulled into our destination, a little tired and sweaty, but happy to have arrived. The team grabbed lunch at the motel restaurant and got situated before taking a walk up to the Oglala Lakota College just across the street. Arriving to the top of the road just in time for sunset, we managed to catch some beautiful views over the rolling hills in every direction. There was enough daylight to take in the bird-inspired shape of the college building and the Oglala war veterans memorial. We wrapped up the day with a walk back down to the motel for some much needed rest and to get ready to take on our first day.
by Lisa Szela