White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Good Times in the Badlands

I arrived at Badlands National Park in mid afternoon and decided to set up my tent first so I would have better light for pictures. But it was hard not to stop and photograph the magnificent formations, the big horn sheep that were feeding along the road or the buffalo.  And I was amazed at how the landscape changed so fast from a prairie to to a huge deep gnash with lots of rock formations. One side of the road would be a view over flat lands to slightly rolling hills, and the other would be this other world of different shades of blue, gray, brown, pink, red, and yellow pillars and mountains. . And as the light faded, the colors became more pronounced.

Words cannot describe this place and the pictures only hint at its magic an majestry.  It definitely should be on everyone's bucket list of things to see.  So here's a hint of what you will see.

Yellow Hills
More of the Yellow Hills
The subtle colors came out as the light faded
Almost sunset
The bluish color is actually the "white" clay that gives the White River its name

Bowl of formations
Carving in progress - check back in 50,000 years
Contemplation - this doe bighorn let me walk to within about 20 feet for this picture

Another view

Long View of short formations
More Formations and Trailhead
A different formation near the end of the Badlands

I came back to camp the second evening to find buffalo all over the prairie, including inside the camping area.

OK here
But not here in my camp
I'm editing this for the last time in the Ely, MN library.  I'm going to go to the International Wolf Center in a few minutes.  I'll also visit the new (to me) bear center and visit a little festival that starts this afternoon.  I'm hanging out in a really beautiful Superior National Forest Campground on Fall Lake while I wait for Bob to drive up here. I'll meet him Sunday evening and we'll put in for our Boundary Water Paddle on Monday morning. I was here last in 1999, arriving four days after the massive blowdown.  In some places, we had to weave our canoe through downed trees on the portage.  In others, we could barely find room for our tent in the jack-strawed trees.  This time, some of the lakes we planned  to paddle are closed due to a fire which is expected to burn fast and hot because it has those same downed trees as fuel. So I'm off to buy another map, in case we need to change our paddling route.