Friday, August 22, 2014

Wind, Water and Time

Wall, SD, is the gateway to Badlands National Park. We went there to see the landscape and to take a hike. Long ago, this area was an inland sea. When the sea dried up, the sediment solidified in a gray-black sedimentary shale. Over the eons since then, wind and water have eroded that rock into moonscape-like formations.

When the land of South Dakota was opened to settlement by the US government, many saw the stretches of prairie land between the rocks as potential homesteads.

Here is a close-up view of the lone tree in the previous photograph. It is evidence of one of those homesteads. For many, the land was free but entirely unsuited for farming and ranching.

The rock of the Badlands is full of fossils, but we didn't take the time to look for any. There is quite a bit of wildlife, but we saw very little. What we did see was spectacular--look at these two big horn sheep we found in different canyons.

We hiked the Castle trail. That put us in the grass of the prairie lands.

Since John grew up in Castle Rock, CO, and we both lived here later, this was a natural hike for us to take. Here is the castle formation. (It's no nearly as impressive as the one in Colorado, IMHO)

Every time we visit a new national park or national monument, we are glad we came. They are always worth seeing. The badlands are different from Bryce Canyon or Zion, but they have their own interest and beauty.


  1. I saw that hole in picture number 4 and thought it was a cormorant. I was amazed until Ron pointed out it was a hole. Cool seeing the sheep.

  2. Love that second sheep photo. Continued happy travels!