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Category Archives: Badlands National Park

Our original plan had been to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park from Custer but we noted storm warnings and heavy snow in the forecast so we decided to head back home. We stopped in Wall, South Dakota for a bite to eat then picked up I-90 heading east. We had gone just a short distance when we noticed I-90 was closed for some reason. We decided to backtrack to Wall and drive through the Badlands. Not much that we hadn’t seen before but we did find a large group of Bighorn Sheep. We found the Rams and a little further down the road the ewes and kids. The Rams work is done for the year.

 

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After photographing early in the morning we headed back to Wall and had an early breakfast at Wall Drug. First place I’ve ever encountered that refused to make sunny side up eggs. While at breakfast we check the map and decided to drive back out to the park and drive the Sage Creek Rim Road. We have been driving through the badlands for years but have never driven the Sage Creek Rim Road¬† other that the first few hundred yards.¬† According to the map we would eventually end up in Hermosa which was our destination.

It was a beautiful early fall day and the color was nearing its peak.

We saw all kinds of wildlife on the drive. We hadn’t gone far before we encountered this Bighorn Sheep ram resting at the side of the road. He wasn’t about to move so we had to drive around him.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

As small herd of Pronghorn Antelope crossed the road in front of us.

Pronghorn Antelope

Of course there were the ever present Prairie Dogs. It seems like there are more and more of them.

Prairie Dogs

There are Buffalo in the park but they are rarely seen on the Badlands Loop Road. We see them fairly frequently on the Sage Creek Rim Road. At one point we found a large number of them in a pen. Apparently there had been a roundup but the bulls still seemed to be roaming the park.

Buffalo

We had gotten out of the car to take some landscape photos and noticed this Coyote walking along. I went back to get my long lens and, of course, he dissapeared. I went back and got my landscape lens and sure enough he reappeared in full view but he was too far away for a shot.

Coyote

While we were watching the Prairie Dogs we notice a large bird sitting out in the Prairie Dog town. It looked to be the size of an eagle but we knew it wasn’t an eagle. Later we found out it was a Ferruginous Hawk. Apparently Prairie Dogs are one of its favorite meals. They frequently sit by an active hole and wait for the Prairie Dog to emerge. We later encountered several of them flying.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

After exiting the Sage Creek Rim Road we ended up in Scenic, South Dakota.

We then drove through the Stronghold Unit of the Badlands. This place had been used as a bombing range. When we pulled over to take this photo I also took a photo of the warning sign.

We were hoping for a great sunrise but that didn’t happen. However the blue hour was spectacular.

We had some nice light for early morning photography.

Many of the same animals were around early in the morning.

Bighorn Sheep

Mule Deer

We drove out to the Badlands hoping for a beautiful sunset. That didn’t happen but there was still some nice evening light for photography.

There were plenty of wildlife to be seen as evening approached. We saw many Bighorn Sheep and Mule Deer.

 

I’ve driven through the Badlands many times but I’ve never taken any panoramas before so this trip I decided to take a few.

It was early in the spring and we were surprised at the number of animals we found in the park.

This was the first photograph I have gotten of Buffalo in the park. They usually hang out in the west end of the park and we normally don’t drive out that direction.

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There were a number of herds of Mule Deer in various areas of the park.

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Several herds of Bighorn Sheep were seen. The rams were no longer with the herd and it was a little early for the lambs. I had noticed a few sheep behind a hill. As I came over the hill this one was staring right at me.

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The Prairie Dogs were around although it was very windy and cold so we didn’t see a lot of them. When we drove through in the morning they were just waking up.Prairie-Dog-Badlands-National-Park-16-3-_4776

We were hoping for a little better sunrise and sunset but it is what it is and one has to make do with what is available.

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Nothing could be more boring than a sunny day in the Badlands with no clouds. When we reached the Badlands there had been storms all around us but we didn’t encounter any rain. The clouds provided a spectacular backdrop for shooting the Badlands late in the afternoon. There were wind advisories out and it was difficult to photograph because I could hardly stand up.

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After watching the Sandhill Cranes fly out to their feeding grounds we headed for Wall, South Dakota. This was a last minute decision. I figured we were already half way there and it didn’t look like we would have time later in the spring to make a trip to one of my favorite locations so we decided to “swing by” the Badlands on our way back from Nebraska.

We drove up through the Nebraska Sand Hills. This was the first time we had been in the sand hills. It was a nice sunny day although a bit windy. A couple of times when we stopped to take a photo I thought the car door was going to blow off.

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I stopped to take a photo of these horses with the dramatic clouds in the background and noticed the fire hydrant out in the field. A bit puzzling since we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

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As we neared the Badlands we encountered another herd of horses. It was becoming obvious that we were going to see some dramatic clouds in the Badlands. As we looked at the weather there were storms popping up all around us.Badlands-National-Park-16-3-_5504

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore taken from a small boat on a beautiful calm day on Lake Superior.

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Winter at Bond Falls in the UP of Michigan. One of my favorite winter waterfall locations.

Bond-Falls-15-1-_2254Sunrise at Badlands National Park.

Badlands-National-Park-15-6-_3306Crex Meadows after a summer storm.

Crex-Meadows-15-10-_3706Ice Caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

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