Thursday, June 24, 2010


Badlands are BAD, baby, BAD!! In a good way! The first night we camped we were treated to a storm, Badlands style, and it was a whopper. The entire sky turned from dusk to black in a matter of minutes. Out here, they sky goes on for miles and miles and to watch a mammoth wall of rumbling storm roll your way is a pretty awesome experience. We made it to the top of the hill for a little sightseeing when Torben yelled “RUN!” and estimated that we had approximately 30 seconds before being pelted with rain. He was right. 70 mile an hour gusts damn near blew us off the road. As if staying on the road wasn’t challenge enough, he had to navigate down a 7% grade in construction with like 2 feet of visibility. He’s good. The next day we learned that one of the campers in our park actually turned over from the force of the wind. Wooooooaaahhh! (Thankfully everyone was ok)

This is what we awoke to the next day, ROCK ON! (literally-ha!) I climbed this bad boy all the way to the tippy top. (Jen, Kel: it put Camel back to shame!)

It was a strain but totally worth it. I was expecting a little nervousness as I approached the summit, but honestly, I felt calmer and more stable the higher I climbed. A rattlesnake was rumored to make his home at the summit as well so I gave him plenty of room, no need to make friends. I don’t have words for the view that was beholden to me, and the pictures are amazing, but only give it a half justice. If you have any inclination to go here, GO! It will be an experience that will impress your memory, it certainly did mine. Enjoy (keep scrolling, I can only add 5 pics per post, so there are several posts that follow). We traveled south a few hours to Merriman, Nebraska. Why? Good question. It is the birthplace of Torben’s namesake, his grandfather Torben S. Madson, the first. Who, from what I understand, was a noble and righteous man. He went on to become the Mayor of Largo. The Madson family has fond memories of him and says that he was a kind, gentle, patient man. The original TSM’s parents came over from Denmark as Madsen and, like all Ellis Island immigrants got a name change, hence: Madson.

The family lived in a sod home in Merriman. When the original TSM was 7-8 years old his father had the courage and wherewithal to move his family (wife, son and two daughters) yet again across the country, this time south to Largo, Florida. After having seen Merriman there is little doubt as to why the family left. Sadly, this is about all that remains and it is clear even this has been gone for some time.

We took a stroll through the cemetery on the hilltop. I love old cemeteries – and this did not disappoint! There were several family plots, all worn with time, some newly added headstones since the 1950’s, but the real gems were the 1880 headstones! Talk about history! Imagine what these people would have seen!! Real Cowboys and Indians! Interestingly, I learned from my Aunt Donna that my Great (Great?) Grandfather also homesteaded in this area (Kadoka, SD) in the early 1900’s. Pretty cool that about 100 years ago our families once lived in the same area.

1 comment:

  1. Brother it looks like you are having lots of fun!