Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’

Amy at The World is A Book has given us the challenge this week to find layers.

This summer we drove through South Dakota’s Badlands on the way home from Wyoming. The Badlands were so good this year, greener than we’ve ever seen.

Badlands layers

Although not spectacular on such a large scale, there are plenty of layers to be found at McDowell Forest Preserve in Naperville, Illinois, my home park where I walk whenever possible.

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An early start soon had me in Chamberlain, South Dakota, the place to “cross the wide Missouri“, the river in full spate after all the rain.

On the other side, the land stretches out seemingly forever, justifying the speed limit of 80 mph.

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To paraphrase a famous quote from The Wind and the Willows:

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply taking a road trip. 

Even though the weather was abysmal, as you can see from this one-handed phone photo, my spirits were high as I took to the road towards my first night’s stop in South Dakota.  Illinois had its usual wonderful combination of lots of traffic and toll roads with the rain and construction thrown in just for spice.  I whiled the miles away listening to a book on CD and wishing I could use cruise control.

© janet m. webb

I make two stops during the ten hour drive.  The first is always a combination cheese and fuel (and bathroom) stop in Mauston, Wisconsin where I stock up on cheese and a bag of fresh, squeaky cheese curds.  It amuses me each year that I buy cheese in a town whose first part of its name, Maus, means “mouse” in German, although the city’s website gives this as the origin of the name:

Mauston’s unique name originally was “Maughs Town,” named after its founder Milton Maugh.

© janet m. webb

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copyright janet m. webb

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.

copyright janet m. webb

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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.

copyright janet m. webb

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