Badlands

DSCF8590Perhaps the man-made weirdness of western SD was evoked by the strange natural landscapes. The Badlands are in stark contrast to the rolling prairies of the state.  I remember approaching them for the first time in 1978 when traveling from the east – they were the first western desert landscape I’d ever seen, and remarkably weird.  Travelling from the west, the contrast isn’t as strong, but you later realize that they are the last desert landscape you’ll see for a long time.  DSCF8559

Greta loses interest with big, long views, so we abandoned the drive-by tourism and hiked up a small canyon trail to the flat area at the top of the wall.  You can see our trailer near the road in this photo.DSCF8568

The erosion of the clay has left some big boulders behind.DSCF8569

We took a 5-mile hike on a trail with few other people, observing the interactions of the geology with the flora (sunflowers, cacti, tumbleweeds, prickly pear) and fauna (bighorn sheep).DSCF8580

Greta caught her first tumbleweed, and effected a catch-and-release.DSCF8582

We think we have arrived at the source of the local indigenous religion.  All hail the Prairie Dog God.DSCF8585

There seem to be waterfalls of rocks in the clay.DSCF8587

A small canyon with a strange little butte in the center was the source of all the tumbleweed blowing through the area.DSCF8600

A tumbleweed-catcher, a gully that lays across the prevailing wind.DSCF8599

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