The Badlands of South Dakota...
From the moment I saw them I was in awe! Don't let the name fool you...the Badlands are far from bad. The peaks and gullies, ancient rock formations and bands of color are mesmerizing and beautiful. Particularly in the golden hour of early morning and late afternoon, when soft low light throws shadows and brings the landscape to life. During those hours the true beauty of the Park reveals itself.
Our trip was in early September and surprisingly the number of tourists and traffic was pretty low. One morning I was up well before sunrise and in the park and to my delight barely saw any other people. I felt like I had the Badlands all to myself, but for the distant howls of a pack of coyotes.
On the first day I felt a bit overwhelmed by what seemed like an endless expanse of ridges, spires, buttes and otherworldly terrain, but slowly, as time passed, I began to focus on smaller areas and take in the more subtle aspects of the area and appreciate its detail. We had 3 days...we needed three times that.
In addition to the fascinating landscapes, there is a variety of wildlife in the Badlands. We saw Bison, Bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, jack rabbits and deer, but there are also rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets and coyotes to name a few, not to mention, many species of birds.
It was a short trip, just 3 days. A good start to many more treks to South Dakota and into the Badlands.