July 7, 2011
We are struck by the relative lack of color of the formations here in Badlands National Park, some faint streaks of brownish red, a bit of yellow, but mostly the stone is white and beige. There is however lots of green grass to give some relief to our eyes and to contrast the huge formations of beige.
In reviewing photos for inclusion in the posts on the Badlands, I was struck how many panoramic photos I took, and how I felt they best represented the area. It is a large area, the panoramic photo does a great job when presented with huge large open areas such as this. Sadly, they don't present well on a blog, but, I am going include them anyway! LOL
Below: this photo shows off the brownish red stripes of color quite well.
Below: This formation reminds me of a castle for some reason.
And, just when we think we will won't see anything more than green and beige, and I find:
We stopped at the walkway above, there was a sign that said to beware of rattlesnakes. Mmm, no one told this rabbit who was sitting about 2 foot from the walkway. He sat and sat and sat. I took several photos, and he sat all the time, poser! LOL
Below, a window. I think they are "fun" and intriguing.
We would drive 44 west towards Rapid City, passing through the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. We were in the Badlands National Park for about 2 hours. Not since Salton Sea California has an area affected me like this. The size of the park as well as being able to see for miles and miles and the barren beige formations left an impression. I find myself hard put to describe the feeling, lets leave it at "other-world".
To those people who told us "there is nothing out there", we respectfully disagree, there is a lot out there, an eerie kind of beauty and bad combined, and occasional flower, bison (we saw none, but, visit Becky Wiseman's blog post from last September), prairie dogs (which Becky also got great photos of) and, more bison (yep, Becky had a real interesting visit, see her dust rolling bison here). We missed seeing rattlesnake (no loss there, believe me) porcupine, bighorn sheep, bobcat, swift fox and black-footed ferret (think you have to be there at night to see them, as if, yea, right, mmmmm, NOT).
It was 91 degrees the day we visited, it was so dry it was as if it sucked the moisture right out of you. We were very thankful for a functioning air conditioner in Big Butt. I don't think I would want to visit if it were say, 100 to 120 degrees.
All in all, the Badlands was an interesting place to visit, with lots out there to experience, eerie strange beauty, a land that is so bad it is good. Just don't forget your bottled water!
* Not far from the Badlands National Park is the Minuteman Missile National Historical Site. We were unaware of it, have added to the bucket list.
** In late December 1890 Minneconjou Chief Big Foot, ill and tired, passed through the Badlands area, by the end of the month he and many others would die at Wounded Knee about 65 miles south of here. Lisa Wallen Logsdon of Old Stones Deciphered and I were chatting about the area and the history. She mentioned the book "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", by Dee Alexander Brown, to quote Lisa: "...this book was historically correct and an exciting read. I couldn't put it down. If you ever have a chance to read it you will thank me for recommending it, I guarantee!" Thanks Lisa! For a brief summary, there is a Wikipedia page on Wounded Knee.