Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Badlands....Bad to the Bone

After leaving the World's Only Corn Palace, I felt corny so I kept it going, hence the title of this post.  I will stop after this and go back to normal which is roughly defined for me anyway.

Badlands National Park.

I think the best way to sum it up is to quote Pearl, "I cannot believe what I am seeing."

This was our first visit to this park and I have to say that I fell in love and cannot wait to return!  The rock formations, the colors, the starkness, the animals all made the park an incredible place.

This particular scenery was new to Pearl.  She had never seen anything like it.  She kept giving us directions: "Pauline, stop here," "Pauline, take a picture of that over there," and she would point, "Pauline, make sure you get that," and she would point again.

Half the fun and amazement was seeing Pearl's face.  Even posing with the bronze Fonz in Milwaukee and Cornelia at the Corn Palace didn't compare to the spectacular beauty of Badlands.  Some photos.

It was 100 degrees while we were here and that is no exaggeration - the temperature read 99 on the outdoor thermometer feature of the truck and that was later in the day.  In fact it was so hot that I am quite sure my nipples melted right off my boobs and rolled in the sweat river right down to my belly button (never fear, I was able to put them back in Montana where it was much cooler).

Why is it called Badlands?  The area is home to the Lakota people.  According to the Badlands National Park web site, the Lakota ancestors called it "mako sica" or "land bad" because of the harsh conditions - high temperatures, lack of water, rugged terrain. The Lakota also know this area to be sacred to them.

It is also a geologists and paleontologists dream!  The geology of the area is quite unique and is better explained at this link.  I'm not going to try to outdo other nerds!  And if you like fossils, here is where you will find your peeps!  Turns out Pearl isn't as interested in all of that.  She would have gone along for the ride but Jamie and I like to read everything and see all the exhibits.  Yeah, we're those goobers.  We will have to return when we can spend time poring over all the information and when we can walk a bit more extensively.

And the wildlife!  We saw:
  • Prairie dogs - which were enormous fun to watch
  • A snake - although it didn't rank high enough in the fauna hierarchy to get a picture in the Badlands Visitors Guide
  • Bighorn Sheep - on our way back from Wall Drug. Jamie was so excited he had to tell a couple of others folks, "hey, did you see the bighorn sheep up that way?" like a little kid

Hey, what up, tourists?
Prairie dogs!

The snake is kinda visible to the left in the photo.

Bighorn sheep relaxing in the heat.

We drove around the recommended Badlands Loop Road because it was much too hot to go hiking and we were worried that Pearl might not want to do that with "beware rattlesnakes" signs all over the place.

We stayed just outside the park so we were able to have the worst dinner with the worst service (shame on you, National Park Service official lodging and dining in the park - Cedar Pass Lodge).  Thank goodness the sunset more than made up for it.

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