Badlands National Park – Landscapes

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We’ve rolled into South Dakota for a stopover to visit the Badlands National Park.  It had rained the night before and was cloudy during our visit.  But that didn’t deter our enjoyment of the surrounding beauty as we drove the park’s Highway 240 scenic loop that offered many pullovers for incredible views.

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“I’ve been about the world a lot, and pretty much over our own country; but I was totally unprepared for that revelation called the Dakota Bad Lands.  What I saw gave me an indescribable sense of mysterious elsewhere….a distant architecture, ethereal….an endless supernatural world more spirited than earth but created out of it.”  — Frank Lloyd Wright, 1935

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The Oglala Lakota people were the first to give the site of modern-day Badlands National Park a name.

They called it mako sica, which translates to “land bad”, because its rocky terrain, lack of water, and extreme temperatures made it difficult to traverse.

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The Badlands striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds.  The saber tooth cat once roamed these lands.

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Every twist and turn along the scenic loop afforded striking landscapes.

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For wildlife lovers, it is suggested to take the park’s Sage Creek Rim Road (gravel road) off the main scenic loop, which was towards the end of our drive.  Wildlife did not disappoint.

These next photos were taken from Sage Creek Rim Road.

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Bison roaming the prairie, “tan” spots are Prairie Dog home entrances

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“Let sculptors come to the Badlands.  Let painters come.  But first of all the true architect should come.  He who could interpret this vast gift of nature in terms of human habitation so that Americans on their own continent might glimpse a new and higher civilization certainly, and touch it and feel it as they lived in it and deserved to call it their own. Yes, I say the aspects of the Dakota Badlands have more spiritual quality to impart to the mind of America than anything else in it made by man’s God.”  — Frank Lloyd Wright 1935

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Herd of Bison

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There is also a southern unit of Badlands National Park located on the Pine Ridge Reservation and managed in cooperation with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.  Due to Covid-19, it was still closed in accordance with Oglala Sioux Tribe ordinances.

More to come from the Badlands NP…..the wildlife!

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