Gray & White

Hungry for adventure, I pointed my car east on Saturday. The sky was bruised and swollen, like America last week. My destination? The Badlands.

Tara had to go into work for a few hours and had chores to do after, so it was just me. Quite literally; I had the entire 242,756 acres practically to myself – a sharp contrast to the tourist hordes that descend upon the park in the summer months.

The temperature hovered around 30º, but there was little wind and I was dressed for the weather, so it wasn’t too bad. It felt like winter, even if it didn’t look like it given the lack of snow that normally blankets the park this time of year. I’m happy to report I found the adventure I craved. There was wildlife galore, including white prairie dogs. I never even know they came in those colors until yesterday.

I even ventured out for a hike on a new-to-me trail…one that I am vowing to return to in warmer months.

I don’t think I’ve ever visited the Badlands when the weather was gloomy. Normally we wait for clear skies, and while the rock formations are striking against a blue backdrop, the colors still pop beneath a blanket of gray.

In a past life, I would venture to the ocean during those periods when my soul was in need of soothing. These days, I find solace on the prairie — about as far from the sea as one can get.

I arrived home a little before 4:00, the somber sky growing incrementally darker as the invisible sun coasted to the horizon.

And felt brighter than ever.

31 thoughts on “Gray & White

  1. It was overcast the day we were there. I’m not sure what’s better for photos. I’d like to see a white prairie dog.

    Btw, if you know what Bijoux translates as, that’s my nickname. From there, you can figure out my real name. Shhhhhh……

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    1. Ahh. I’ll have to put on my detective’s cap and figure this one out!

      I’m a sucker for the contrast between blue skies and the colorful mounds, but bright sunshine does tend to wash out the colors. I think the photos of the Yellow Mounds above are the most striking I’ve taken in the many times I’ve visited.

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  2. We were fascinated when we visited the Badlands a few years back… no wildlife other than bison but loved the name. We don’t have names like that in the UK, although I’ve since discovered “Lonesome” in South London. Every bit as bleak but more urban!

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    1. Ironically, up until last year it was tough to find bison in the Badlands. They were relegated to land well off the beaten path as part of a conservation effort, but they reopened 22,000 acres to bison a little over a year ago, and now you’re almost guaranteed to see them when you visit.

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  3. I saw your amazing photo on Instagram, Mark. You create an excellent image “…sky was bruised and swollen….” and the sad part about America. Your photos of the animals are amazing. I am transported, like you say, to an adventure. I get it on the “soul was in need of soothing.” Thank you for sharing a beautiful post.

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