Field Stone Cottage Blog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just One More Stop

The last place that we promised ourselves we could visit on the way home from Oregon was just a little ways down the road from the Black Hills. In fact, its only about an hour. We'd sort of peeked at the Badlands the last time we came through South Dakota but this time we decided that we needed to have a really good look...and so we did! And it was well worth it!

The Badlands is an area of arid prairie land where the soil is composed largely of clay with massive sedimentary rock formations which are exposed because of excessive amounts of erosion over time. That sounds so scientific and really doesn't prepare a person for the surrealistic look of the landscape. Sometimes it made me think of moonscapes, sometimes sand castles, and sometimes ruins of some ancient civilization.

Dogs are not allowed to walk on the landscape or even the trails there...only on the pavement. That's in part because of the fragile ground. But Charlie was still able to enjoy the scenery from the window!
The other reason dogs are not allowed off the pavement in the Badlands is because the wildlife, especially the bighorn sheep, are spooked by them. We'd never seen bighorn sheep this close up before!
There was also buffalo and antelope in the Badlands, just like in the Black Hills, but I've shown you them before. The other animal that is particularly prevalent in the Badlands is prairie dogs. In fact, there is a prairie dog city there!

Many wildflowers dot the prairie grasses of the Badlands but I never expected to see cactus there! Actual, spiny, prickly cactus! And it was even in bloom!

We used up every bit of extra time we had for the trip home in the Badlands and there was still more we could have explored. Next time. Or maybe we'll have to make it a destination of its own. What awesome aspects of God's creation we were treated to there!


ellen b. said...

You got some great photos of this area Dorothy! Those prickly pears are such an interesting plant. They seem like such a southern California cactus type of plant and it surprises me that they are a Dakota plant :0)

AuntE said...

I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba which is about 3 hours from Fargo, ND. We have prairie dogs here too and they can be quite amusing. The way they pop up out of their burrows and squeak warnings at each other is funny!

You have some wonderful photos here. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

Elle said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your photo blogging of sites. My pictures never turn out this well, so I can enjoy myself over here. What a stunning creation the Lord has made!

Willow said...

I'm not sure I've ever seen a prairie dog. I read about them in pioneer trail books and in the Little House books so it's fun to see a photo. And the cactus-what's up with that, in South Dakota? Interesting! The Badlands are truly amazing!

Kim from Hiraeth said...

Now that's a place to which I'd love to go! Great pictures, Dorothy! Charlie looks like he's enjoying himself, as usual!

Anonymous said...

WOW -- those photos are very impressive and it looks like you had an amazing trip to our great state. We welcome you back at any time!

Thank you for visiting!

South Dakota Office of Tourism