Bad Boy in the Badlands

The year was 2008 and we were returning, via car, from a family reunion in Iowa to California.  We had our youngest son and his wife with us.  She’d never been in the west before (except to attend Stanford), so it was a new experience for her.  We decided to take some time on our way back home to California to show them Glacier National Park and also the Badlands (which we had never seen before ourselves.)

Once you see them, you know why they are called the Badlands.  These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here (no, I didn’t see any – not even when I was a kid!!!!)  Located in southwest South Dakota, the park covers 244,000 acres and protects an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.  It is the largest protected area of mixed-grass prairie in the United States.

There is a strange, haunting beauty to the Badlands.  I can’t see that they’re useful for much in terms of agriculture or cattle, but they can capture the imagination.  They are not far from where Custer took his last stand.  They remind me of the movie Thunderheart, starring Val Kilmer and Graham Greene, and in fact, much of the movie was shot on location in the Badlands.  Some location names that might be familiar from the movie include Red Shirt Table and the Stronghold.

So that’s how this bad boy (me, of course!) wound up in the Badlands!  It was hot and windy…and I wish I could go back and explore it some more.  Maybe put on my breech-cloths and join in a native American sweat lodge and watch the ghost dances.  Wouldn’t that be cool!!!!

BadlandsON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1901, the leaders of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, Chi-hsui and Hsu Cheng-yu, were beheaded in public.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: a 1999 survey said that 19% of people who snore, snore so loudly that they can be heard through a closed door.



3 thoughts on “Bad Boy in the Badlands

  1. Beautiful places that held so much life that are now barren and bare, kinda like people when they get old and helpless and nothing is fertile any more,nothing grows anymore yet it still holds life in the breath of God:)

  2. We went there once but afraid for me I was sick that whole day and didn’t enjoy one second of it :-( Was hoping one day to go back but since we can’t travel anymore I won’t be able to DARN! Love looking at places like these!! Holly

    1. It is a very interesting place, for sure. It may sound strange, but in the wind you can almost feel the presence of the Indian tribes who used to live and roam those lands. I know they’re not really there, but there is a certain romance to it…a sense of history is perhaps a better way to put it.

      Too bad you were sick and couldn’t enjoy it. How old were you then?


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