Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Holy Geological Phenomena, Batman!

We visited Badlands National Park yesterday and we were, shall I say, frickin' AWED!
I have been a lot of places and seen some splendid sights, natural and human produced, but this place is just plain extraordinary. I learned that it is also home to about 200 Black-Footed ferret, the most endangered mammal in the USA. Hooray for black-footed ferrets! I'm not really all that cranked about ferrets in general, just felt like giving a ferret cheer. Anyway, all through the park and for most of the drive there and back the words "vast" and "scenic" kept running through my head. I've gotta improve my adjective storehouse I guess. All the way there I think I saw one cigarette pack on the side of the road-its so CLEAN! And the sky is huge! One really odd thing is that we saw dozens of turtles, live and (alas)squished on Interstate 90. A seven year drought has ended this spring and we figured the turtles are, what? coming out of hibernation? Migrating? We were picturing vast herds of turtles crawling across the plains to get to the now overflowing creeks, visiting with turle relatives they haven't seen in years. Curious.
On the way to maka sica(lakota for 'bad lands') we visited a homestead museum which was poorly maintained and over priced but which had a sod house built in 1909. Since I am currently reading "Giants In The Earth" by O.E. Rollvaag about South Dakota homesteaders living in sod houses, it was very cool to be able to visit and actually go inside the sod house. What a great place for energy conservation! Built into a rise in the land, it would have been so easy to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. But I would have had to finish the walls with some earth plaster or adobe, the plain old dirt with grass roots in it was just a tad too primitive.
Well, we are burning up some gas visiting places, but you have to explore when you go someplace new. And the Badlands was really worth it! We are going back there to camp in July so we can see the place at dawn and at twilight. YAY fo South Dakota!


Allie said...

That's so cool! A camping trip out there would be amazing!

I don't know why, but the idea of wild ferrets cracks me up.

Robj98168 said...

Salut to the black foooted ferret-SALUT!