Badlands N.P., S. D. 2012


At the end of June, 2012; I trekked the Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

The public domain map for the Black Hills geographical area.

          The Badlands National Park is located 121 km east of Rapid City, South Dakota.  The Badlands of South Dakota are a natural masterpiece of wind and water sculpture.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

     This extraordinarily eroded landscape contains a profusion of buttes, pinnacles, and spires carved out of an underlying plateau of soft sediments and volcanic ash.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

     Early settlers gave the Badlands its fitting name, for it would be almost impossible to grow crops in these battered hills.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

     Fortunately the Badlands’ scientific and pictorial merits have long been recognized, and the area is now part of the Badlands National Park, which also protects America’s largest area of mixed grass prairie.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

     The Badlands’ sediments were deposited in layers beginning 75 million years ago when shifting continents raised the Black hills to the west.  Sand, silt, and clay measuring thousands of feet deep were then deposited on the plains, along with several layers of volcanic ash, until five million years ago, when the White River began eroding to gradually reveal the stark landscape we see today.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

     The Badlands are also a showcase for the best deposits of fossilized mammals in the world, dating 35 million years.  The skeletons of ancient camels, three-toed horses, saber-toothed cats and giant rhinoceros-like creatures are among the many fossilized species found here

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012; (the Yellow Hills).

     Badlands National Park’s striking geologic deposits and mixed-grass prairie lands are spread across 244,000 acres of western South Dakota.

Badlands National Park’s in South Dakota 2012

     Wildlife roams the Badlands’ National Park boundaries as well. Bison, pronghorn, mule and whitetail deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, butterflies, turtles, snakes, bluebirds, vultures, eagles and hawks are just some of the wildlife that can often be seen here. 

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012

         The Lakota people were the first to call this place “mako sica” or “land bad.” Extreme temperatures, lack of water, and the exposed rugged terrain led to this name. French-Canadian fur trappers called it “les mauvaises terres pour traverser,” or “bad lands to travel through.” By one hundred and fifty years ago, the Great Sioux Nation consisting of seven bands including the Oglala Lakota, had displaced the other tribes from the northern prairie.

Badlands National Park of South Dakota 2012
Looking east at sunset towards the Badlands of South Dakota 2012

    

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