The Badlands – Our First Visit

Badlands Our first visit to the South Dakota Badlands brought us both familiar and unfamiliar scenes. As expected, “bad” is in the eye of the beholder. At this time of the year (late June) there is contrast between the barron and the plant life. Light gray hills of adobe dirt and clay reminded us of […]

Badlands

Our first visit to the South Dakota Badlands brought us both familiar and unfamiliar scenes. As expected, “bad” is in the eye of the beholder. At this time of the year (late June) there is contrast between the barron and the plant life.

Light gray hills of adobe dirt and clay reminded us of western Colorado. The big difference here is the presence of green grasses in between the hills and peaks, and the bright yellow flowers along most of the roads and around the hills. The contrast of colors is awesome. Large pastures approaching on the drive into the park, with cattle and horses complete the picture. We were told that we caught the spring blooming at just the right time. Within a couple of weeks most of the green and yellow accents will be gone, leaving bare hills with brown remnants of grass and plant life. Badlands then becomes a more obvious description.

Badlands – Spring Flowers

One exception to that we have been told is the sunflowers. The environment apparently is almost perfect for growing sunflowers. We missed those this year.

See The Good Badlands – Photos by Guy Tal

As we often like to do, we kept off of the major roads today, and explored the gravel side roads and one jeep trail within a 60 mile radius of our site. It was a great day with fantastic views that we did not expect.  The photos we took today were with the sun almost directly overhead. We can’t wait to go out again during early morning and evening light. Even with the strong overhead light of the sun, some amazing scenes came up in front of us as we wound our way through.

Badlands – The Settlers

We can certainly understand why the early westward travelers would call this area the “badlands”.

It was easy for us to admire the scenery and be amazed at the landscapes when we were driving through on good roads in an air-conditioned vehicle.

 

Picking your way through such a place must have been intimidating to say the least while traveling by wagons and oxen.  Desolate cliffs rising up abruptly out of the plains must have seemed an unfair test of one’s ability to survive. Extreme temperatures, scalding hot in the daytime, cold at night must have added to the sense of futility. Storms can come up quickly with more lightning and wind than rain, and no place to seek refuge. Canyons can go on and on, only to end in a box making you retreat and find another way. There are few trees to provide shade. Strong winds can blow even at night, blowing colder and colder till morning, when the heat begans again.

 

Add to that the desert environment where even the water is alkaline, not drinkable for man nor beast, and you have a problem. Without a guide to help you pick your way through, this must have been truly a journey of faith. Even with a guide, keeping fresh supplies of food and drink were strong obstacles to travel.

Add to that the desert environment where even the water is alkaline, not drinkable for man nor beast, and you have a problem. Without a guide to help you pick your way through, this must have been truly a journey of faith. Even with a guide, keeping fresh supplies of food and drink were strong obstacles to travel.

We took lots of photos, and of course, expect to take many more before leaving this picturesque place.

We are blessed to have come here during this season. We hope we can take another look at a different time of the year to see the contrast.

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