The Badlands – South Dakota, U.S.A.
An Alternate Reality, Sculpted by Nature
General Alfred Sully described it as “hell with the fires burned out,” and to the Lakota Sioux and 19th-century French trappers and explorers, it was the Mako Sica and “les mauvaises Terres” – the bad lands. Frank Lloyd Wright wrote that “what I saw gave me an indescribable sense of mysterious other-where – a distant architecture, ethereal, only touched with a sense of Egyptian, Mayan drift and silhouette.”
For 500,000 years, erosive forces have eaten deep into the soft soil of Badlands National Park and carved out an alien landscape of cones, ridges, gorges, gulches, pinnacles, and precipices, with some formations more than 1,000 feet high, all painted in the shifting colors of layered mineral deposits. Take the 40-mile Badlands Loop, which provides an ample eyeful of nature’s theatricality, especially at dawn, dusk, and just after a rainfall, when the interplay of light and shadow is most poetic.
By the way, it’s predicted that within 500,000 years the Badlands will have been eroded away to nothing. Better go see them now.