Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’

copyright janet m. webb

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copyright janet m. webb

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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Not only are the days flying by, they seem to be filling up with one thing or another. In the morning, the posts in my “blogs I follow” box seems to have multiplied like the proverbial rabbits (as well as people I follow posting multiple posts–HEEEEELP!) and I feel that I may never catch up.  I’ve started working two shifts a week at a local patisserie/restaurant/chocolate shop as well, have a bag of apples ready to make sauce, and…well, you’re probably all in the same blogging boat, so I’ll stop my whining.  🙂  But can’t you hear real life calling?  Loudly?

That makes a “Wordless Wednesday” post sounds really, really inviting.  But no matter what, except for last week, Wednesday is Photo Challenge Day and once again I shall answer its siren call.   The theme for this week is “Layered”, a perfect segue into some of my upcoming posts about returning from Wyoming and driving through the Badlands the day of the eclipse.  Here’s a teaser. Because of the eclipse, the sky and wonderful colors of the layers are somewhat dulled, but I find them awesome (in the true, old sense) nonetheless.

I know it’s a bit early, but we want to get on the road. You snooze while I load the van, then we’ll stop for breakfast at County Fair.

Can you believe that we got 2 eggs, toast, and almost an entire dinner plate of crisp-on-the-outside hash browns for $3!!  What a great place!  What? Yes, I dug in too fast to get a photo.  Sorry about that.  Into the van and fasten your seat belt. The rest of South Dakota and Wyoming await.

This part of South Dakota still looks like (and is) farmland, but when we get to Chamberlain and cross another wide river, the Missouri, the landscape will change to more grazing, although we’ll also start seeing fields of cheerful bright yellow sunflowers.

Whenever I cross the Missouri, I think of an American folk song we sang when the girls were little. I’d play “Oh, Shenandoah” on the piano and we’d all sing.  Here’s a version I like, although the lyrics are slightly different than the ones we sang.

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