Before hitting Mount Rushmore (I swear officer; it just jumped out in front of me. I never saw it!) we visited the Badlands National Park. It was our first “tourist” stop of the trip.
It’s not a big park, and the thought was to spend a few hours there, hit the motel we had reserved, and get a good night rest so we could be at Mount Rushmore bright and early.
Well, relatively early . . . one has to have a decent breakfast. We arrived at the park at 5:30pm, having driven West along I-90 for most of the day. The last photograph was time-stamped 8:45pm, and we could have easily spent longer exploring the striking landscape.
I pity the settler driving his wagon West and hitting this expanse of unfriendly terrain. Of course, these canyons, soft-stone labyrinths, hidden coves and glens would later make perfect hideouts for famous and not-so-famous outlaws . . . actually, I don’t remember who hid there. For all I know they are still there.
This next one is my favorite Badlands photograph . . .
It was too late for us to do any of the longer hikes, but there were a few short hikes to various vantage points.
The majority of the park is split between jagged rock formations and smooth, eroded hills like these.
At the time I was quite the avid golfer, and when I saw these next features I immediately saw the possibility for building what would be a difficult course indeed . . .
Getting from green to green would give golfers a good workout; they might even have to put down their beers.
This next picture gives a sense of scale . . . that’s our Suburban sitting there atop the hill.
We saw a number of deer in the park, but this shot is my favorite. As near as I could tell, they were just running to run.
We had already seen a number of Antelopes along I-90, but these were the first away from the things of man. A male lording up a small herd of females.
By now the sun was dropping, and the colors were really getting lit up . . .
And, shortly after the sun dropped behind the hills, we spotted the first of many we would see on this trip . . . a lone buffalo grazing in the distance.
All in all, a great three hours. We visited the Badlands again when we took our western trip in 2004, looking for a place to settle. That visit was even shorter. Basically a quick drive through.
One of these days we’ll go back and give it a proper visit. Meanwhile I, like you, can click on any of the pictures to go look at the thirty (30) pictures that make up the SmugMug album.