Bold and Beautiful Badlands (South Dakota)
It took us eight hours drive from Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) to the Badlands National Park (South Dakota, USA). My first impression of the Badlands was “wow”. It’s bold and solitude but also beautiful to see. Beautiful in a unique way. Somehow I can understand why it was being called as “Mako Sica”, the “Land Bad”, by the Lakota people, members of the Oglala Sioux. The Badlands were known to be a difficult territory to live in, for that reason it got the name.
Badlands has unique geology formation that was formed by geologic processes; deposition and erosion; for million of years. The layers of the rock formation showed the tiny grains of sediments such as sand, silt, and clay and how long they have been deposited. According to NPS web site, the oldest layer, the grayish Chadron Formation, was deposited between 34 and 37 million years ago by rivers across a flood plain. Meanwhile, the erosion began about 500,000 years ago. The geologic processes turn the Badlands as it is today.
The wildlife in the Badlands parks is varied, from the cute ones like prairie dogs to one of the deadliest snakes in the North of America: the rattlesnake. Actually, we saw a rattlesnake on our first day in Badlands. Thankfully, it was sleeping.
Driving around the Badlands National Park was fun and totally recommended. Although, it was a challenge to drive at night, however, there are cottages and cabins for rental inside the park also you can camp (tent or recreational vehicle) in the camping ground if you wish to get the feeling of the park at night. The skies in the Badlands at night were amazing to see. Unfortunately, I missed the “milky way skies” when I was there.
The south part of the land covers the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It is being co-managed by the Oglala Lakota Nation, that makes the Badlands as the country’s first tribal national park.
Before being established as a national park in the year 1978, the U.S. Air Force had used it for bombing exercises. After its establishment as a national park, the Badlands has appeared in several Hollywood movies, mostly the ones that related to science fiction and aliens. Can you guess which movies that have taken place in Badlands?