Friday, September 24, 2010

Badlands NP, SD

Today was the beginning of a week long adventure! Josh's family flew up from Oklahoma and Texas for a few days exploring. When we postponed our wedding some of our families plans couldn't be changed so instead of the wasting plane tickets and a cabin they've up for a visit and mini-vacation. Since we don't live close to either of our families it's great to have this chance to get to know them better. Our visitors include;  his parents, both grandmothers, two aunts, one uncle and a cousin. To top it off- two friends from Oklahoma are also visiting. And I don't think that we'll be bored for one second this week.

Sage Creek Road, Badlands NP 9.23.10
We woke up this morning to rain. The sky was dreary and overcast and didn't look like it was likely to get better. As the day went on it began to slowly dry. The clouds didn't seem to clear but instead to divide and provide us with sunshine and blue skies. After picking up Josh's Uncle's family from the airport in Rapid City we headed east to Badlands National Park.

The Badlands at any point of the day are beautiful but today we saw them at sunset. We went into the park by dirt road from the south. It was 25 miles through grazing land. Buffalo and cattle dotted the fields. We drove up on a coyote. He was hunting a prairie dog town and didn't seem to be having much luck.

at Fossil Walk, Badlands NP 9.23.10
Just over an hour from Rapid we were seeing the formations. The badland formations have colorful stratigraphy that glows in the light. After a rain the reds, yellows and grays pop and having you wondering if you're even on earth. Tonight, the light gray soils reflected the colors of the sunset. Beautiful oranges and golds. Shadows moved every minute.  There were so many places where we got out of the car and took it all in. Everyone who had a camera was taking photos. It was awesome and more than a little windy.

After a few hours cruising we got to the end of the Badlands Loop Road just as the sun was setting. It was perfect timing. As we drove home it was complete darkness. It made all the colors that we had just seen even more spectacular. Maybe soon we can make it there for sunrise....

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