Listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands” as I write this post. Wow, this is such a great great song. Probably one of his best. Ok, I digress…
When we started asking you for ideas of things to see and do on this trip, we got an overwhelming response of “you MUST go and drive through the Badlands.” And, now, we understand why.
Unfortunately, “some folks” down in Washington had a different idea for the beginning of our experiences on this trip, the Badlands being one of them. When we were there, the Government was still shut down (aka they were still bickering) and we weren’t sure if we were even going to get in. Luckily enough, South Dakota decided to shut down the park while also keeping it open. How? Here’s how…
They posted a sign on the front entrance stating that the park was closed, yet they didn’t lock the gates to the entrance closest to Wall, SD. They did close the gates at other points in the park, but by keeping 11 miles of the park accessible – they were able to say they were “closed” and they could say they were “open.” Smarties!
We weren’t really sure what to expect when we pulled through the “closed/open” gates. We had read about the history of the Badlands, what life was like in the park these days, the animals, those that still live in the park – but nothing could have prepared us for the vast beauty that we witnessed.
First impression: HOLY SUGAR SNAPS THIS IS HUGE!
Deep canyons, towering peaks, flat top plateaus for miles and miles and miles as far as your eye could see. As we drove through the 11 mile stretch that was open, we felt like we were on a different planet. Is this really real?
We parked the car and walked around to several different areas that were “closed” just sitting in awe of the vastness of it all and the beauty. Not one view or angle looks the same. Different shapes and sizes, different colors.
The sedimentary rock started to be deposited about 65 million years ago and has been eroding for the last 500,000 leaving the clay looking structures spectacular colors of brown, green, blue, reds and oranges. All fading in and out of each other. As we sat taking it all in, it’s hard to imagine that the entire park will be completely eroded and no longer exist in about another 500,000 years.
The beauty of the government shut down was that the park was nearly empty. I think we saw a total of four other cars throughout our 2 hour time driving and walking around. We basically had the entire park to ourselves to enjoy the undisturbed beauty of this natural wonder.
We so look forward to coming back again when the park is fully opened, enjoying a sunset and sunrise in the park – and even sleeping in the park!
Thank you to everyone who suggested that we make this a “must see” – you were absolutely right and we are so grateful we were able to go! Take that Washington!