Monday, July 10, 2017

Nature Geek Vacation Destination - Badlands National Park (Interior, SD)

Causing or inspiring awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration or fear

awful (archaic)
inspiring reverential wonder or fear

filled with or revealing awe

The word awesome is overused.  People use it when they mean something is good.  For instance, someone might say their strawberry-banana-kale-chia smoothie is "Awesome!"  Or a waiter at a restaurant my respond to my order of nachos with "Awesome!"

I just returned from a two week vacation.  Shara and I drove three thousand eight hundred miles and visited nine states.  In that time I saw two places that I could literally describe as awesome in the sense that they inspired an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear.  The first of these places was the Badlands of South Dakota.  The Badlands are a place of truly awful (inspiring reverential wonder or fear) beauty.  Shara commented while were standing on an overlook that she felt very insignificant - that is a very good thing to say about the Badlands. I have no words to describe them - I was literally awestruck by their grandeur.

The Badlands were formed by two geologic processes, deposition and erosion.  Over the course of tens of millions of years layers of sediment (sand, mud, volcanic ash, etc.) were deposited in the area that is today known as the Badlands.  For the past approximately 500,000 years wind and water have been eroding those sediments, creating the gullies, hills, and outcrops that we see today.  Geologists predict that in another 500,000 years the Badlands will be completely eroded away.  For more information on the Geology of Badlands Nation Park please visit this National Park Service webpage

Although photographs cannot do the Badland justice, here are a few of hundreds of pictures that I took during our visit.  If you want to visit the Badlands, they are almost due west of Mid-Michigan approximately one thousand one hundred miles (or sixteen hours) of driving away.  From the Badlands it is only another ninety minutes of driving to the Black Hills area (more on this later).

For now, here are my Badlands photos.  Enjoy.





  1. Some reminder of Grand Canyon but did not know they looked this way.
    Reminds me that we are one small part of a huge universe

    1. I've not made it to the Grand Canyon (yet) - it's on my life list. I am always amazed by what can happen with a little wind and water and a whole lot of time.