Thursday, May 31, 2012

Badlands National Park

Last fall we took a massive road trip from Utah to Minnesota. Happily, there are a ton of things to do and see along the way. Badlands National Park was on our list of MUST SEES for that trip, and it didn't disappoint.

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When we were there the weather wasn't fantastic (read as: REALLY REALLY COLD AND DREARY), so we mainly drove through and stopped at the interest points along the way to take pictures. According to the park website, there are several hiking trails and I think if the weather had been better it would've been lovely to do a couple of those.

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The scenery was amazing and I thought it was really interesting to see all of the exposed layers in all of their different colors. A bit like a history map through the ages.

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We learned a few interesting tidbits from reading the info-boards along the way. The grasslands used to look black, covered with enormous herds of buffalo. These days, the black patches you see in the grasslands are the results of controlled burns. Early settlers to the area didn't think the native grasses to be very "pretty" and planted a lot of non-native species which threaten to take over the native ones. The park does controlled burns in an effort to get rid of some of the invading species. The native species are more "fireproof," meaning their root systems go a lot deeper and they can survive the grass fires better than the invaders.

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The visitors guide (links to the site to download a PDF guide) for the park suggests you only need an hour to drive through but if you only budget an hour you won't have time to stop and get out. It took us closer to 3 hours to drive through and that was with us not staying out of the car for extended periods of time (generally 5-10 minutes at each pull off through the park).

The entry fee was $15 for our car and worth every penny if you ask me. You can check out the park opening hours and other "things to know" here on the Plan Your Visit link to the park.

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I'm linking this B is for Badlands post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Go have a snoop around over there are find out what other fun B's people wrote about!

Jenny Matlock

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In other exciting news, I get to check another thing off of my 101 list! Visit the Badlands is DONE!

2 comments:

anitamombanita said...

It's on my list of places to see. Thanks for sharing!

pplfichi said...

Okay. That is very pretty. WANT. TO. GO.

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