Just down the road, we are met by this guy. We basically knew we would meet him because his presence has already been documented by Katie!
We go in this store to buy “supplies” such as post cards and food for…
Prairie Dogs! (In case you are far-sighted, the sign reads: Watch Your Step for Prairie Dog Holes.)
Here is Kristyn, ever-dutiful, watching her step.
Here I am, ever-negligent, fooling around with a camera in a jacket called “Liza!” What? It was chilly! You don’t know!
I wish I could take credit for the following two pictures but alas I cannot. Kristyn took these shots and aren’t they amazing?
Dana, we totally had you in mind because this was during the tail end of your Meerkat Manor days. I know they aren’t the real deal but they will do in a pinch.
Here I am taking a cellie picture. I had intended on live blogging this whole trip by taking gorgeous pictures with my camera. BUT once we got on the road, I quickly realized that I did’t know how to use my camera as well as I thought I did AND that we never, ever had access to the internet unless the phone picked some up. In order to rivet and excite our family and friends, we kept them abreast of our movements via Facebook via our iPhones.
Please ignore my ratty sneakers and peep how close these dudes let you get to them. They love them a good sucker/tourist. Funny little creatures.
At last we arrive in THE BADLANDS!!!
You had to pay a small fee to get in. Once you’re in, you just drive through the park, stopping and taking pictures as you like. Just don’t get hurt or like, killed. They have a walkway out to the edge for you to gawk at the Badlands’ majesty.
These guys were just chilling off to the right. Who cares about humans?! Not these guys.
And here is our first real peak at the Badlands. This is Planet Earth in the good old US of A. Weird right?
Here is Kristyn and some Badlands:
Behold me and some Badlands:
And here we have a warning to watch out for “rattlers”. I never thought I’d be in a land where my obsessive and irrational fear of rattlesnakes could possibly be legitimized but I digress.
I think what is going on in the picture below is that we had to kind of haul ass UP the side of a badland in order to look over said badland INTO some badlands. Make what you will of that sentence but I think that in this picture Kristyn is trying to give me “EXHAUSTION!”
The thing about the Badlands is that every inch you walk further, there is another moment where you go, “Whoooooooooooa…WHAT?!” If I posted all of the Badlands pictures I wanted, we’d never do anything else ever again.
I know this picture of Kristyn is WAY blown out but that’s kind of what I like about it. It looks like something you’d see in a movie. The protagonist has taken too much peyote the night before and is coming to in the middle of the Badlands. He doesn’t know how he got here or who this beguiling woman in a Coney Island Serpentina shirt is nor does he remember his own name. Only upon focusing on her can he begin to put the pieces back together. Ya know, or something.
This part was probably my favorite part just because the colors were so rich and weird:
This is a totally separate part of the park. It’s weird because the landscape changes in order as if it’s grouped like how things are in a museum. “And now we enter the super weird colored Badland section!”
Here I am just fooling around with my fisheye lens and a Badland.
It takes you probably a little over an hour to drive through the park what with all of the stopping, climbing Badlands and photo snapping. But once you’re done, you just drive on out onto a road. We had actually intended on sleeping in a campground around here the night before. We took too much time in Minnesota and to make it to the Badlands would have tacked on at least three to four hours onto our trip from where we decided to stop. It was getting dark and the animals (and ourselves) needed a rest so we gave up on that plan. Sometimes I’m sorry because I had a whole photographic agenda. I brought the tripod Kristyn’s Dad gave us and wanted to set it up and take photos of the stars. Where else can you get a clearer night sky than sleeping in/around a National Park?
Mostly though, I shudder to think of how stupid that could have been. Once we were actually IN the Badlands…*shudder* No way. That place was wide open and WILD. That is a place where animals live and are NOT second class citizens. You are on THEIR turf and to stay there in a flimsy tent is to stay there at your own risk. I’m sure people do this and survive on a regular but I am not built of such strong stuff. It’s better that we went our own speed and stayed the night at a kindly, crafty nutter’s hotel where the only wild animals were hot glue-gunned to a wreath.