Posts Tagged ‘Badlands National Park’

for One Word Sunday

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© janet m. webb

Yellow Mounds, Badlands, South Dakota

for One Word Sunday and Lens-Artist Challenge: Blending in or Standing Out

In my last post about the Badlands, this plant appeared in one shot.  I thought it was worth a closer look, so here it is: Wooly Verbena/Vervain.  These 1-4 foot tall wildflowers attract many species of bees and butterflies to the Badlands.  Plains Indians used this plant in their teas to calm stomach problems. The color especially pops in a landscape of tans and browns.

We’ve covered over half of the almost 32 mile Badlands loop and stopped at most of the 14 overlooks along the way.  The eclipse is over, so that light is back to normal.  I’m glad you were able to take the time to drive with me.  85% of people who rated the loop for Trip Advisor gave it an “Excellent” rating, 12% “Very Good.”  I heartily agree.  This eastern part of the loop shows off a bit more of the grassland part of the park.  Sit back and enjoy.

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The Badlands are more than just fossil beds and colorful layers.  Within the park is a large expanse of mixed-grass prairie, home to the black-footed ferret (the most endangered mammal in North America, bison, bighorn sheep, badgers, elk, coyotes, deer, antelope, bobcats, porcupines, and, of course, prairie dogs.  The official park site says “scientists have observed 39 mammal species, 9 reptile species, 6 amphibian species, 206 bird species, and 69 butterfly species.” All have to be able to handle extreme temperatures and find shelter, whether in burrows of their own making or by taken over those belong to something else.  Others survive through hibernation or dormancy or by taking shelter in canyons or other low spots.

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Designated as a national monument in 1929 and not redesignated as a national park until November 10, 1978, the Badlands has one of the more interesting park names.  Once you’ve seen it, you can understand why the Lakota Sioux Indians called it Mako Sica, which has been translated as “land bad” and as “eroded land.”  French fur trappers called it  “les mauvaises terres a traverser” or  “bad lands to traverse.”  Of course, with modern roads, albeit winding ones, the trip is much easier, one anyone who has the chance should take.  But if you’re hiking, take lots of water, wear suntan lotion and a hat, and stay on the trails.

copyright janet m. webb

Yellow Mounds Overlook

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