Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 9 / The Badlands, SD

The Badlands

The mythology of the Badlands tells the story of how the Lakota Indians lived in the area when the plains were lush and green, and the mountains were colorful. Any tribe passing through, no matter how unfriendly, would band together with the Lakotas and dance and sing and trade in peace. But then, from the western mountains, came people who wanted the land for their own. A battle began and the Great Spirit covered the area in a dark cloud. Storms came and destroyed the green, lush prairies. The area became a barren waste.

This is kind of what we expected… dry, barren rocks, and some interesting mountains. What we actually saw was truly breathtaking. The mountains were stunning with layers of colors and textures; the prairies and grassy area between the rocks were green and lush, and with wildflowers in full bloom, the place even smelled wonderful!

We spent most of our time just climbing on the rocks. We hiked a couple of short trails and then hiked the Notch Trail, a 1.5 mile moderate to strenuous hike through the canyon and up to some of the mountain peaks. Along the way we saw the most interesting bird nests made out of mud along the side of the rocks. We learned a little about these birds during the Badlands movie at the Visitors Center, so it was really neat to see them in the wild!

Garrett and Nicholas did not want to leave the trail, but it was almost 9:00 and it was getting dark. I did not want to be out on those mountains once it got dark since we didn’t have flashlights with us. Plus, there was a Ranger Program on astronomy at 9 and I thought it would be fun to go to that.

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