May 16, 2018 Interior, South Dakota

Badlands Stormy Skies
Badlands Stormy Skies

A Couple Days Exploring Badlands National Park

Badlands Morning Color
Badlands Morning Color

I continue to rack up the miles in the poor old Prius driving the roads through the park.

Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors

The sun rises very early here on the eastern edge of the Mountain Time Zone, so I am out the door by 6AM and head west through the park with the sun at my back.

Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors

The colors are constantly changing depending on time of day and weather.

Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Sam Exploring the Badlands
Sam Exploring the Badlands

Sam is still active enough to want to accompany me out to spots to take photos, but is left in the dust by her new companion Pearl.

Badlands Stormy Skies
Badlands Stormy Skies

Stormy skies to the west change the feel of the landscape. Daytime temperatures have been in the high 80’s but the evenings cool down fast for comfortable sleeping.

Clouds Over the Badlands
Clouds Over the Badlands

Gorgeous cumulus clouds cast shadows on the landscape

Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Bighorn Sheep

I encounter a small group of Bighorn Rams each morning …

Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Bighorn Sheep

… and again as I return back to camp in the afternoon.

Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Bighorn Sheep
Badlands Prairie Dogs
Badlands Prairie Dogs

There are numerous Prairie Dog communities throughout the park and the surrounding  cattle grazing land.

Badlands Prairie Dogs
Badlands Prairie Dogs
Badlands Prairie Dog Lookout
Badlands Prairie Dog Lookout

Some of these communities must contain hundreds if not thousands of individuals.

Badlands Prairie Dog
Badlands Prairie Dog
Badlands Prairie Dog
Badlands Prairie Dog
Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

If you scan these Prairie Dog “Towns” carefully with some binoculars, often you can spot a Burrowing Owl or two.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

Shaky images taken at a very long distance.

Bison
A Formidable Obstacle in the Road

I have encountered a few Bison bulls, but have not seen any cows and calves.

Scratching Post
Scratching Post
Bison Portrait
Bison Portrait

I had hoped to do some boon docking at the site just south of the town of Wall when I leave here Friday, but the weather is calling for some nasty weather ( possibility of large hail with violent thunderstorms ) and the road accessing those sites can get too sloppy for my rig after heavy rains, so I will continue to head west to Yellowstone and hope I can find a place to stay.

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May 14, 2018 Interior, South Dakota

Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Probably not necessary to put a name to this location as most people are likely to know where these shots were taken. I arrived here last night and settled in at the Badlands Interior Motel and Campground. I hated to stay in a commercial campground when the Badlands has one of the best boon docking areas that exist, but I had to order new Tow Dolly Basket Straps  ( used to tie down the Prius’ front tires to the tow dolly ) or risk dropping the car somewhere along the highway. And I had to have an address to have them shipped to and this was what I came up with.  They should be here Thursday and then perhaps I will move on to the boon docking area.

( Right clicking on any image will open a larger, sharper version of the photo in a new tab or window )

Badlands Peaks
Badlands Peaks
Badlands Peaks
Badlands Peaks

I was here many years ago and really don’t remember much about the park, so this is sort of a new experience for me.

Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors

First thing this morning I drove west on the park loop road and was blessed with some sun and blue skies to the west after two days of rain.

Yellow Hills
Yellow Hills

Pretty spectacular colors along the drive, made more so by the presence of green, lush grass, thanks to the unusual amount of rain this area has gotten this spring.

Yellow Hills
Yellow Hills
Badlands Colors
Badlands Colors
Yellow Hills
Yellow Hills
Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns

I found some Bighorn Sheep not far from the road, some of then kind enough to settle in amongst some flowers.

Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns
Badlands Bighorns

At the end of the loop road, I drove the nine miles in to check out the changes at Wall Drug. What I remembered as an all but stand alone tourist trap years ago, is now surrounded by commercial development.

Because of the recent rains, some of the drives in the park are gated closed, most likely impassably muddy. Hope they dry out quick! More on the Badlands coming … I hope.

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