Badlands and bison
Trip Start Sep 21, 2012
28Trip End Nov 14, 2012
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Where I stayed
Red Trail Campground
Red Trail Campgroumd
Today we saw the most spectacular scenery of the trip so far. For miles and miles in every direction, you see these rugged hills and valleys. Some of them look like big, hard sand piles; some are covered with grasses; some have a few trees on them. When you're up high, it's like looking into a canyon. It seems to be as vast as the Grand Canyon, although perhaps not as deep. (I haven't checked the actual stats.) There is some red atop some of the hills, which we're told was caused by conversion of clay and other surface rocks by the heat from coal (lignite) burning underground. (There are also small strata which are red because of their FeO2 content.) There isn't as much red as in the Grand Canyon or in the Sedona area. The colors range from the color of almost white sand, to tan, gray, blue,and then this red. Some of the partially wooded draws look right out of the old cowboy movies.
Pix will come when we solve mystery of how to move 'em from camera to here!
At the visitor center for the Theodore Rossevelt National Park, a very helpful park ranger gave us information on the geological features of the area, and gave us some tips on where to find the best views. she also told us that at one particular prairie-dog village, there had been sightings of a badger and a coyote working together as hunting partners, and that if we took our binoculars and sat there for a while, we might see them. So we did, but they didn't appear. Not that we were surprised. We did see lots of bison, lots of prairie dogs, a small herd of wild horses and, outside the park, lots of range cattle, including Brahmas ... and longhorns.
Tomorrow (Saturday), we drive the 300 miles to Hot Springs, South Dakota, where we expect to camp for three nights -- either at the KOA there or at Elk Mountain Camp Ground, which is within Wind Cave National Park. (depends on whether or not they're still open, have space,etc. They may NOT have electricity, and I doubt that they'll have WiFi, so we may be out of touch again for a few days.
I got some perspective on the mega-Camper issue this evening. As I walked around the campground, I saw many of those humongous things I described in yesterday's post. Then I saw some about the size of ours. And some a little smaller. and some tiny ones. Then there was one pop-up tent camper. Finally, I saw two men sitting at a picnic table making their dinner and looking at maps with their bicycles beside them. And a few feet away was a teensy little tent. Perspective. There will always be those who have bigger and those who have smaller. Different strokes for different folks.