Day 16 – Onto the Badlands

The Pinnacles overlook at the western end of the Badlands.

The Pinnacles overlook at the western end of the Badlands.

The drive from Wall to the Badland’s west gate is a straight shot through farms and parts of the National Grasslands – lush, green, and apparently unending, a sea of grass swaying in the wind. Then you reach the Badlands and begin to understand where the town of Wall got its name – like a massive wall, the Badlands prevent any easy way to go from the north to the south in this part of the Dakotas.

The Badlands sprawl out from the Northwest towards the southeast in a long line of multilayered multicolored mounds and piles of sandstone, some sharply pointed, others gently mounded, but all cracked and eroded from ages of rain. The desert-like stratas of sand are surrounded by lush green grasses, adding to the contrast of pink, yellow, white and tans of the lonely peaks and cliffs. The rock – or rather, the amalgam of a hard mud and gravel – has an alien look to it, with a strange ugly beauty to it.

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