The Badlands of South Dakota

I didn’t know what to think when we decided to go to the Badlands in South Dakota.  I already thought that South Dakota was going to IMG_1322be desolate and rough considering the cold climate and the bikers.  J  What could there possibly be in the ‘bad’ part of this state that we would want to stop for?  The answer was a multitude of immense IMG_1288canyons (or hills depending on where you were standing) that have slowly been worn down to reveal beautifully colored layers of rock that have been laid down over the past few million years.

After a stop at Wall Drug, which was a trip in to souvenir hell, we toured the park on the way to our next campsite.  We stopped at many overlooks to look at the ever changing formations that, as time progresses, continue to reveal fossils that were interred in to theIMG_1314 layers.  Badlands is different than most parks because visitors are allowed to go off of the beaten path on their hikes.  They even have a standing process in place for when visitors find new fossils or skeletons which is a common occurrence.IMG_1295

One of my favorite parts about the Badlands was the night sky viewing because of the isolation of the park from artificial light.  We went to a ranger presentation, where Lindsey earner her Junior Ranger Badge, that gave us the opportunity to view the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter through high powered telescopes.  Later, when the moon had gone down, we were treated to a rare view of the universe, including easy viewing of the Milky Way galaxy, that we city dwellers don’t usually get to see.

The Badlands were a nice surprise and ended up being one of my favorite destinations on our trip.

–Dirk

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