Right before we arrive at the Badlands National Park, we stopped at The Ranch Store where we were able to feed prairie dogs! It was awesome. We walked out by all their holes and watched as they poked their heads out and scurried over to all the nuts that lay around. M was so close to getting a prairie dog to eat from him, but he never did.
While driving on the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway we came across a bighorn sheep right off the side of the road. We were very surprised he was just grazing next to the road where all these cars were driving by. He obviously didn't have a care about us, but everyone was pulling off the road to take photos of him.
In the morning, M was packing up our tent right as the sun was coming up. I noticed him launch backward. A huge wolf spider was sitting motionless right under our tent...right where were left our shoes! He was bigger than the bottom of a soda can and camouflaged perfectly with the patchy gold grass and dirt. Thank God he wasn't IN our tent or I would have been sleeping in the car the rest of the trip. Needless to say, we double checked our tent and shoes the rest of our trip.
Since our campsite was down a long, curvy dirt road, we moved slowly to make our way back to the highway. Off the side of the road we could see about 7 bison following a trail. We thought it was cool because the previous day we had only seen one lone bison and a dead bison. We continued to drive until we turned around a bend, and then there were 60, all following a trail which cut through our winding road. We ended up having to cross the herd twice. There were bison right next to our car, and charging down a hill right in front of us. We had to time our crossing perfectly so they wouldn't run into the car. Finally we reached a point where the herd was behind us and we continued on our dirt road to the highway.
Then we saw a porcupine in the grass, right off the side of the road. He was the only live porcupine we saw the whole trip.