EAST BY NORTH (In the Bad-Beautiful-Lands)

I think I lost a day here…..I must be getting sooooooo tired now.   I left off last time with the “road dropping out from under me.”    Well, then,  I found a place to park the Blue Cruze:


See it?   Way, way up there in the upper right of that photo!    My tiny, little car.      I took many photos in this beautiful Badlands National Park,  but not one of them was able to present the size and the grandeur and the beauty and the impact. . . .  The landforms there are just way above human scale.

If I show you just a few photos,  I will have held back from you more of my “best” ones;  but here are a few.   There were huge “folds”  in the earth:


Then there were many areas of bands – layers of sedimentary rocks, revealed by erosion:

BandsThere were thick, heavy clouds overhead, but then they would float away and then the colors would come out, but sometimes it was just impossible to wait for the sunshine.    There were areas of yellow and pink –

Pink Bands BeautifulThat’s some of the pink, in sunshine;  and here is pink and yellow:

Yellow reallyReally, there was a whole area of pink and yellow rocky hills that you could drive your car through or get out and walk around and take (inadequate) photos.

Here are some deep crevices in the shade again, though the shade made them no less breathtaking as you stand on the edge — and there was nothing stopping you from walking right out to the edge!


I call this one “walk the plank”  –  if you dare!

Walk the plankAnd just for perspective  — this isn’t me,  but a young lady whose boyfriend said “Go way down there so I can get you in the picture!”   Well, she did.  She ran down to the edge of the point as far as she could, but she had trouble standing….there was a strong wind all day, maybe 35 – 45 m.p.h.    She was very far from safety!

In the Wind

I would strongly, enthusiastically encourage everyone to go see the Badlands!  It’s worth the drive.   This is my third time there,  the first time I made the trip alone.   Three times, and I was still so overwhelmed by it all.   It really can be a safe place to drive:

Safe RoadsThere are miles and miles of these roads.  The Badlands Bypass is 31 miles long   I thought it would take me an hour or so.  I stayed for more than four hours.   There were many places to get out and take pictures and many trails to walk on.  Some were rough, right through the rocks,  and some were quite “civilized,”  such as this Fossil Trail, which featured a comfortable boardwalk and fossils to see:

Safe Fossil Walk

But everywhere you go, every pathway,  had these signs:

Snake Sign

I don’t know….there were a lot of people around,  but you never know.

IMG_2119I saw stairways only once.  They were pretty darn steep!    I thought this would be a good place for mountain goats!

Sure enough:

Mountain goats

They made funny “huffing” noises and didn’t seem to be concerned about the people at all.

A while ago, pioneers had to cross this land.   They showed pictures of wagons being let down and lifted up over these rocky precipices.    They showed photos of some of the pioneers who tried to settle here, but many starved or nearly starved because they didn’t know how to farm in the dry plains states.   It’s a different set of skills than farming in the verdant eastern part of our country.

Nearby was a preserved soddy, dug into the hillside, providing extra protection from the relentless winds.

Badlands homeThis area was “closed” – after hours.  I didn’t expect to leave “after hours”   but I was able to take a picture from a distance.   Imagine calling the Badlands your home!!   Or trying to.   Perhaps it wasn’t so pleasant a place to live, after all.

Well, I’m still headed eastward to my own home.   It’s time.   I’m glad I went eastward by the northern route – EAST BY NORTH.    I may live in the “north”  but it is still east of the Mississippi River.   A very different kind of scenery.    One that is Home to me.

Aw, geeeeee……Just one more before I go.   Sun and shade:

Sun and shade

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