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South Dakota: Badlands NP


We visited Badlands in June 2008 and found it a fascinating place. Out in the middle of the plains you suddenly come upon this vast area of colorful and wondrously-eroded rock. While here we stayed at Cedar Pass Campground in the park.
 badlands022 We entered the park south of Wall, SD, and drove the 23-mile Badlands Loop Road. There are numerous pull-offs along the road where one can pause to survey the vast landscape. 
 Each rise and turn in the road brought an entirely new vista.  badlands033
 badlands036  In some areas, some thin spires remain atop the hills.
A rugged landscape.  badlands026 
 badlands039  A particular sort of seabed sediment colored the Yellow Mounds.
 The Yellow Mounds provide an interesting contrast to the more common gray and purple.  badlands048
 badlands053  Here and there one finds valleys filled with green.
 It looks like a lunar road.  badlands056
 badlands066  Back in the mid-1800's homesteading settlers tried to farm the valleys. It was not an area conducive to farming and most moved on after just a few years.
 Shapes and colors.  badlands072
 badlands075  In some places the deep gullies seem to go on forever.
 The lighting was rather disappointing here, but we were still struck by the fragileness of the rock formations. badlands082 
 badlands084  Note the small spire at the left.
 We drove by this and I jammed on the brakes to stop. I had to walk back a bit to catch this odd-shaped rock formation. Somehow it has so far managed to stay perched atop its pedestal.  badlands091
 badlands097  The next morning, before leaving the park, we drove back in along Badlands Loop Road, in hopes of getting a few more pictures in the morning light.
 But already another bank of dark clouds was moving in. For a few moments, they did provide a sharply contrasting background to the sunlit hills in the foreground.  badlands099
 badlands116 But as the clouds progressed eastward and eventually dimmed the sun, we lost the vividness of colors. 

 Our last look at the Badlands before exiting the park. We continued to be amazed by the alternating layers of color.


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