2013 Fall Trip, Day One: Badlands National Park

Kristen and I headed west in early September (our only week off from weddings!) for a trip into the Rocky Mountains.  We stopped over at Badlands National Park to try to photograph burrowing owls.  We got in late and set up our tent, and headed up just in time to catch the sun setting from Sage Creek Road.  We wandered out to grasslands to capture the sky as it changed from pastels to orange to red as the sun set behind a storm over the Black Hills.  Along the way, we acquired shoes full of “spiny balls of death”.  We continue to find these ultra-sharp burrs on various pieces of clothing for the rest of the trip!

It was a busy campground, with a surprising amount of solo campers, so we headed out after dark to the top of a nearby hill to enjoy the silence and watch distant lightning, camera free.  It wouldn’t be our last experience with lightning this trip.

Kozy Korner Motel

Old motel “Kozy Korner” near Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Badlands sunset with tree

The sun begins to set behind hills and a tree in the badlands of South Dakota.

Badlands National Park Orange Sunset

The sky turns orange as the sun sets over the grasslands of Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Badlands Red Sunset

The sun sets in a blaze of orange and red behind stormy skies in Badlands National Park.



  • Tracy - September 13, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Wow! I found this photo online today of the Kozy Korner Motel in Belvidere, SD. My parents built this motel back in the late 1950s. They lived in the largest unit (only 9 total) until they built their house (which has since been moved to a local ranch). I spent my summers there riding horses in the rodeo grounds (used to be just south of the motel). Thank you for sharing this photo – tears in my eyes to see the sad current condition, but many, many wonderful memories!

  • David - September 13, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Very cool. I definitely has that 1950’s “road trip” era feel. I love the area. We make it out for a day or two almost every year. I copied your email to our blog. I think a lot of people would love to hear a little glimpse of the history of the motel.

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