Saturday, September 22, 2012

Badlands National Park

My retirement “fun” was delayed by a painful ankle ailment, related to uhhhhh, “age.” Activities for 2 weeks were limited to what can be accomplished while occasionally on crutches – and that wasn’t much because I was pretty busy with “poor me”! Repairs were very necessary!  After a 3-hr. drive north, through Custer State Park, past Crazy Horse monument, past Mt. Rushmore, we found the the Orthopedic Center, where my Dr. used words like “arthritis”, “impingement”, “collapse” “deterioration”, but he also said “cortizone” which quickly brightened up my  horizons.  Hey, THAT was a great birthday gift! Bless his heart, when I asked if it was finally time for me to “lose 20 lbs.” he responded, “my dear, we ALL need to lose 20 lbs.” What a bedside manner he had -- I think I may have hugged him!

After the Orthopedic Center in South Dakota, and it WAS my birthday, and that cortizone shot had perked up my spirits, we decided to head east for a 2-day road trip, about 70 miles, to Badlands National Park, in SD in the southwestern part of the state, near/in/through Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I was shocked to  learn it was there all this time, and I'd never heard of it - MY loss.

The drive north to the Ortho Center included this view of Crazy Horse, taken from the moving car.

Crazy Horse, a work in progress, taken from the car.
 And finally the Badlands!!!  Oh my gosh!

View from our Lodge porch

South Unit
My photos fall far short of showing the drama, ruggedness, and desolation of these amazing crags, mountains, hills, remnants of millions of years of volcano remains. This area must be full of archeological treasures. There was a 30 mile route in one direction, and we stayed at a very nice motel, Cedar Pass Lodge in the Park, with lovely quilts on the beds, with a good view of more incredible landscapes, and also with a nice restaurant and Visitors Center. This is part of the Oglala Sioux Reservation – I will risk scarcasm as in no way can anyone grow crops in most of this particular Badland area. Returning home we went another direction, yet still in/near the National Park, across flatlands and tables where it’s nice to imagine days of bison traversing this land.

I would definitely recommend this trip, although it’s NOT plush. Climate is semi-arid, not much snow, but a lot of wind, and I presume very HOT in summer. Fill up your gas tank before you get in the Park.


Cyn said...

Amazing photos. Thank you for sharing. It brought back a lot of memories for me when I traveled in the area with my Gramps when I was 14. It has such a rugged beauty all its own. Glad you were up for the trip.
Happy you like the new doc and that he helped you some. Sure hope you heal really fast... maybe have a bonfire with those 'walking stitcks'. lol

Nancy said...

My aunt and her husband owned a ranch in the heart of the Badlands. To say they scratched out a living is not exaggerating, but the Badlands are gorgeous.

Glad you are feeling and getting around much better.

Lynn Dykstra said...

I love the Badlands!
We went there several times as children.
I've got to make plans to go again.

zippiknits.....sometimes said...

Truly beautiful lands. Quiet.

Hope that your ankle is less cranky and stays thataway.

Vic in NH said...

Happy Belated Birthday! What a very tactful doctor and I'm glad that he has got you on the mend. Your photos of the trip are amazing!
Please consider getting rid of the word verification to comment, I keep trying to post and failing.

grendelskin said...

Happy belated birthday! Wow, what great photos - we're so fortunate to live on this huge, ever-cchanging land mass, and to live where such treasures have been protected for public enjoyment! Thanks for sharing them, this park definitely gets a spot on my National Parks bucket list!

Purple Pam said...

Beautiful pictures of the Badlands. Sorry to read about your ankle ailment. Glad you are better.

Tanya said...

Happy Birthday and I hope your ankle heals quickly!

Gypsy Quilter said...

We live in an incredible country don't we! When did they start the statue of Crazy Horse? I was there in 1969 and remember the dinosaur park.