My original plan was to spend a couple of days at the Badlands. When I was there in 1979 it was more of a drive-by visit and I don't remember much. I wanted to spend a couple of days camping and hiking in the area.
I drove into the campground and picked a camping spot, then headed back to the amphitheater for the ranger talk. It was on the skies over the Badlands and there was a full moon walk scheduled afterwards. Like in Grand Teton, this was limited to a certain number of people. Like in Grand Teton, I didn't have a pass, but I tagged along anyways.
The walk was interesting. Unfortunately, between the above picture and the ranger program, it clouded up and became overcast. It was still fairly light, but not the brilliant full moon kind of night they were hoping for. As we returned to the amphitheater, the clouds broke up and the sky was clear again.
The walk didn't go as far as I thought it would. At the end we had about 5 minutes to walk about. I headed off in one direction at the head of a group of people and jumped back when a stick about 5 feet buzzed at me and took off. It was the first rattlesnake I'd seen. I called attention to it and it climbed up a rock formation and curled into a coil watching us.
It was between the talk and the walk that I decided I would be leaving in the morning. It was scheduled to be 105 the next day. Since the pictures I wanted were in the morning and evening, I knew that for most of the day I'd probably sit in my car with the AC running to keep cool. I figured that wasn't worth it.
Since it was now dark, I decided to just pull into the overlook I'd passed earlier and just sleep in my car. I let the fan run for a bit while I sat watching the moon and fell asleep. When I woke up, the battery was low enough that I couldn't start the car.