The Badass Badlands
Bad Wi-Fi prevented posting last night . . .
It’s been a long, jam-packed day, so I will let the pictures tell a little bit of the story. I say a little bit, because photos don’t begin to capture the grander, starkness, colors and uniqueness of the Badlands. Many of the formations look like castles or buildings enhanced by Antoni Gaudí. The stone texture looks like poured cement, but much of it is soft and crumbly. With symmetrical, red striations, it almost looks man-made like something in a Disney theme park.
We arrived in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park in time to see quite a bit. We did a couple of short hikes, drove the dramatic scenic “loop” (which is not really a loop), and attended an evening ranger program.
The best of the two-part program with the park rangers was the session with the park astronomer. It was a treat to look through the 160X telescope, see the craters on the moon, the rings of Saturn, Jupiter and it’s moons and the amazing summer constellations in the incredible dark sky. It was a late night and we were tired, but even more astounded by what our beautiful country has to offer.
On our way through South Dakota, we made a pit stop in Mitchell to see the world’s only Corn Palace. In the late 1800s, farming communities competed to put their communities on the map. There were 34 palaces at the height of the era, but only the Corn Palace remains. Today it is decorated with 275,000 ears of corn in 12 different colors, and accented with ryegrass and sour dock (a prairie plant). They take their corn seriously here- the high school team are the Kernels, the radio station KORN and the town mascot? What else, but Cornelius.
Little House on the Prairie
This is some of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s territory. She and her family homesteaded in Desmet, SD, moving to and from a number of towns in the mid-west, sometimes when crops failed. In South Dakota, the Laura Ingalls-Wilder Memorial Society has preserved her family sites and have a variety of special programs celebrating her books and frontier life.
I just needed one more day . . .