B-B-B-B-Bad…lands! – Photos Sep23

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B-B-B-B-Bad…lands! – Photos

Aptly named! Yes, yes yes – they are bad lands! The Native Americans thought so, as did the French and I heartily agree. Bad I say!

The Lakota people were the first to call this place “mako sica” or “land bad.” Extreme temperatures, lack of water, and the exposed rugged terrain led to this name. In the early 1900’s, French-Canadian fur trappers called it “les mauvais terres pour traverse,” or “bad lands to travel through.”


Today, the term badlands has a more geologic definition. Badlands form when soft sedimentary rock is extensively eroded in a dry climate. The Badlands National Park’s typical scenery of sharp spires, gullies, and ridges is a premier example of badlands topography.


Courtesy of National Parks Service.gov

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A loud humming buzz greeted us as we pulled into the registration lane at the KOA. Allison was beside herself when she found out that the noise was hundreds of cicadas in the trees, and even more disturbed when she ran into one of their molted exoskeletons clinging to the bark of a tree while she was hooking up the water hose. Poor thing. California girls don’t grow up around cicadas.

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It was exactly those extreme temperatures that kept us firmly planted at the campground alternating between playing Canasta in our climate-controlled RV and running for a quick bake and dip at the pool. There was no way in H-E double hockey sticks that we were going to hike the Badlands in 95 degree weather. We’ve been on a hunt for our passions and guess what, turns out we are both overwhelmingly passionate about NOT hiking in ungodly heat.

So we got up the next morning at 7am in order to see the park at a reasonable temperature before we had to check out of the campground and hit the road toward Sioux Falls.

This is my gorgeous girl at 6am, ready to see the Badlands!

This is my gorgeous girl at 7am, happy and ready to see the Badlands!

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Okay so they are sorta pretty, actually really pretty if you’re not subjected to insane heat while you look at them. The drive through the park that early in the morning was a bit haunting since we were the only car on the road for a lot of the way. We were able to catch several wild beasties enjoying the quiet morning.

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Pronghorn Sheep grazing

Pronghorn Sheep grazing

The most coveted beastie for me was the Prairie Dog. I required that we drive out to the very end of the road to their “town” to try to say hello. As we pulled into the turn out and opened the doors, we could already hear their yipping. So excited, I rushed to get out, put a foot out onto the ground and nearly slid onto my butt. Thankfully the open door saved me from a fall into the 3 inch thick mud that surrounded us. We didn’t get to walk too far out into the field for fear of losing a shoe, or getting stuck up to a knee or something. We also couldn’t really capture the perky beasts with our cameras, but it was enough to see them with my eyes and hear them chatting away with each other.

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In a non-summer month with cooler weather, I can imagine wandering all through this park and being enthralled by the colors and textures. I’m sure there’s a good time for the Badlands. 7am-10am on July 25th worked for us.

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