Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Badlands

Our scenic country has so many breathtaking, awesome wonders, many of them made into national parks or monuments. One is Badlands National Park, 50 miles east of Rapid City, and a few miles south of Wall, SD. We've visited there the other 2 summers we worked in SD but on this trip the Badlands were especially beautiful because of the large amounts of rain the area has had, the end of a drought several years long. In this first picture you can see Keith standing on the edge of a precipice overlooking a moonscape-like view. There were actually tiny people out there so we figured there must be a hiking trail.

The photo below will be one of my all-time favorites! I love the contrasting colors. Just beyond this scene you will find vast acres of prairie grass and wildflowers, swaying with the winds and pocketed with prairie dog towns. It is one of the largest, protected mixed-grass prairies in the U.S. 

"4 species of wildlife have been reintroduced into the Badlands since its establishment as a National Monument in 1939. The black-footed ferret, bighorn sheep, bison, and swift fox, once exterminated from this prairie, are again thriving in their native habitat." (from website) We were fortunate to see Buffalo in the distance, but this sighting of a small herd of bighorn sheep was outstanding. They were right on the road and looked at us as if we were of no consequence. The lamb helped himself to a meal as we watched and clicked our camera. What a treat! We also have these animals at Bear Country USA and I am amazed at how different the male sheeps' horns are than the females' horns. There were no males in this small group we encountered at the Badlands, only mamas and babies. They were wearing large collars to keep track of their roamings.


1 comment:

Real-life Family said...

Beautiful...I miss the north! I love reading your blog and seeing your gorgeous pictures!