Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Geezers, Wyoming and South Dakota - Badlands National Park

Day 14

Today we planned to explore the park and we were up early so we could get the early morning sun for our pictures.  The plan was to drive the short distance to the town of Interior and get something for breakfast at the small grocery, but that plan went awry as the small market wasn’t open yet (it was Sunday morning).  We ended up getting a snack at a gas station and we were on our way.  We drove the park loop road towards the northern entrance where we came in stopping at various viewpoints along the way.  The Badlands is very interesting and scenic, a mix of grasslands and eroded hills, canyons and pinnacles.

Just before we got to the park entrance, we turned west onto the Sage Creek Rim Road, which is a graded dirt road.  For the first part of the drive, we saw the eroded canyons and hills of the badlands to the south, and grasslands to the north.  Along the way we saw buffalo and antelope in the grasslands and at one point there was a very large prairie dog town.  We really enjoyed the prairie dogs and spent a lot of time watching a photographing them.


As we watched, the buffalo started rolling in the dirt.
Now he was fully into it.

We continued on the 23 mile Sage Creek Rim Road drive until we hit the main road, which looped back to the Cedar Pass Lodge.  We had originally planned on eating trail mix for lunch as we explored the park and then eat an early dinner, but we realized we’d be back to the lodge before 2:00 and decided to have a late lunch instead of early dinner.  After lunch we spent the afternoon in our room relaxing and downloading and viewing our pictures from the last few days.

Tonight is a combination of a Super Moon (a full moon when the moon is closest to earth) and a Blood Moon (a total lunar eclipse) and we are lucky enough to be in a great spot to view it - at least we thought we were.  Moonrise was at 6:32 tonight and we decided to get there early so we left the lodge just after 5:00.  Unfortunately the weather forecast indicated that clouds would be moving in, but we hoped for the best.   

When we arrived at our viewing spot we could see the clouds moving in, but it was still clear where the moon would rise.  We still had an hour until the moon rose, but as time went on we could see that we might not see the moon.  The spot we had picked was a notch in the mountains so we would be able to see the moon rising through the notch.  By the time the moon was supposed to rise we could see a layer of clouds low, but it looked like there was still clear sky above.  We began to see a pink spot and thought that was the moon rising so we changed our position, but nothing came of it.  After waiting and waiting, we finally gave up deciding that the cloud cover was too heavy.  After picking up our equipment I walked a short ways up the road and all of a sudden a big orange moon came into view, we had moved to the wrong position.  I yelled for Val and we both raced to get our pictures, but the moon was already starting to be hidden by the clouds above.

We waited a while longer to see if there might be a gap above, but no such luck so we packed up and headed back to the lodge.  It was very disappointing as this won’t happen for another 18 years, but it was a beautiful evening and we had a good time so it turned out okay.  Tomorrow we take the short drive to Custer State Park where we will spend the next two nights.

1 comment:

  1. Some of your Badlands shots have a surreal look about them. Eerie. Not of this world.