2016 MEA # 4: The Badlands South Dakota

The next location specific post from our Most Excellent Adventure focuses on the Badlands, located in Interior, South Dakota. Talk about stunning scenery and emotional views…..you can’t get through the Badlands without dropping your jaw and holding your breath for a good portion of it! We spent several hours driving through the park, stopping at just about every overlook we came to, and searching for wildlife (of which we found a lot of)! It was a great day, for sure!

I wondered why it is called the BADlands when it is so breathtakingly beautiful. In my search for an answer, I came across this on the Badlands National Park web site:

The Lakota people were the first to call this place “mako sica” or “land bad.” Extreme temperatures, lack of water, and the exposed rugged terrain led to this name. In the early 1900’s, French-Canadian fur trappers called it “les mauvais terres pour traverse,” or “bad lands to travel through.” Today, the term badlands has a more geologic definition. Badlands form when soft sedimentary rock is extensively eroded in a dry climate. The park’s typical scenery of sharp spires, gullies, and ridges is a premier example of badlands topography.

The website also says that it takes a good two days to see most of what the 244,000 acre park has to offer and it takes about two hours to just drive through it and stop at a couple overlooks. We spent much of our day there — driving through the bulk of the park and driving the Sage Creek Rim Road (The Badlands Wilderness Area) where most of the wildlife can be found.

So, without further ado……here are photos of our day in the Badlands National Park, Interior, South Dakota:

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My brother……a little closer to the edge than I cared to see him go……

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My sister-in-law and I being silly

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Hi, Kevin……I’ll just zoom in and get your photo from here, thank you!

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One of my absolute favorite photos of the entire trip! I turned around and saw Kevin and Lylace in a moment and quickly captured it!

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Your’s truly…….I bit the bullet and got as close to the edge as I dared – just long enough for a photo!

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Lylace and her sister, Donna

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Kevin…..again…..seriously???

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Lylace getting a photo of some mini sunflowers

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This was a spot where you could actually explore and dig for fossils and stuff – if you find something, they put your name in a book with what you discovered!

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This is hard to see, but there are literally hundreds of prairie dogs in this field — they were so cute! They played and ran around and watched us and “chattered” with each other……we could have watched them for hours and not got the least bit bored!

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This herd of pronghorn stopped traffic for a good 10-15 minutes while they meandered across the road! It is a strict violation of the park rules to toot or otherwise try to convince any wildlife to move out of your way — this is THEIR home and you just have to wait for them! 🙂

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Bison…..with the rest of his herd off in the distance
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And, it wasn’t ALL “bad”……here is a huge field of sunflowers, just past their peak time

In fact, throughout South Dakota we saw LOTS of fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see…….thinking sunflower seeds and other sunflower byproducts may be a common agricultural resource for the state!

4 Comments on “2016 MEA # 4: The Badlands South Dakota

  1. What incredibly beautiful landscape. The colors in the rocks are beautiful. Love the prarie dogs. When we were in one of the National Parks, our bus was stopped for at least 3/4 hour while a huge herd of Bison meandered from one side of the road to the other. There were about 125-150. Of course no one on the bus minded. We were all snapping pictures.

    • Yes – people didn’t mind at all — everyone abandoned their vehicles to get photos! LOL

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