The Badlands are like the moon, they’re like mars, they’re like nothing you’ve ever seen. That’s what you hear about the Badlands before going. Turns out, it’s true. All of a sudden you’re driving through high prairie and then there’s this:
and your mind is totally blown. Because it’s quiet and windy and the colors are so elemental.
My parents live in South Dakota, but they moved there when I was already a grown-up, so I’ve mostly only been there for breaks and holidays and weekends and things like that. And because of schedule craziness it took them living there for ten years before we could work out a time for me to come out and go to the western part of the state (they live in eastern SD near Sioux Falls) and see Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands. Until this past August, when–mostly because I was unemployed with a ton of time on my hands–I was able to go out that way for a long weekend. And what an eye-opening weekend it was!
We were racing a storm through a lot of the drive, so when we stopped into Badlands National Park the skies were impressively dramatic. But the landscape was what was really special. It seemed unreal and my pictures don’t come close to doing it justice. You could really imagine outlaws hiding amongst the mounds and never being found. Or good guys going in to find them and never coming back out! And the best part? Since it’s a National Park, there were plenty of bathrooms and a cafe. YES.