Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National ParkNever heard of Badlands National Park? Neither has most of the world… which is very unfortunate. It’s not too far from a little place known as Mt. Rushmore.

I shot this in 1993 while traveling around the United States for thirty days on one of the greatest road trips ever… The Alamo; playing ROOK with our 78-year-old Aunt Tommy until 4:00 a.m. in Littlefield, Texas; the National Battlefields at Chattanooga and Chickamauga where my great-great-great grandfather died in a field hospital during the Civil War (the fam fought primarily for the Confederacy, seeing as they lived in the Carolinas, Arkansas, Alabama, and other southern locales); Williamsburg, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Telford, Pennsylvania (to see Steve and Lisa, dear family friends); the National Baseball Hall of Fame where Reggie Jackson was being inducted in and my Dodgers were slated to play the exhibition game until rain intervened; Niagara Falls, New York and Canada; getting lost in downtown Detroit at night in the wrong part of town; a Cubs game at Wrigley (they obliged and lost); a farm in Minnesota; Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; seeing the bison in Custer State Park; and down to Colorado Springs to visit friends for a week.

This was shot with my parents’ Canon A-1, a truly heavy piece of machinery that I’ve toted all over the place… and it weighs a ton. I’m even responsible for a couple of the dents and dings in the steel casing. (Yes, I’ve dropped a camera… more than once. That’s why all of my present equipment has a special insurance policy that covers klutziness.) I’ve always liked this photo because I shot it with no training whatsoever at the age of seventeen… the way the shadows fell on the mountains was just dumb luck for a kid taking pictures that summer day.

Badlands National ParkBy the way, our stay in the Badlands motel (it was not a hotel!) is one of the singularly most memorable of my life: One naked lightbulb hanging from the ceiling that didn’t produce enough light by which to read a book; beds that sagged to the middle (which isn’t a problem unless you’re sharing a bed with a sibling and both rolling to the middle and into each other); no cable television so you’re stuck watching a made-for-TV movie; an above ground swimming pool with ice-cold water and a slide with no warning that the water is only three feet deep (which is why some people bounced their bums off the very hard bottom of the pool); and the pièce de résistance… my sister opened the door to the bathroom and a toad hopped out, crossed the room, and went out the door on his merry way. A TOAD! In our motel bathroom… toldya it was memorable!


2 thoughts on “Badlands National Park, South Dakota

  1. Wow magnificent information!! love the way you have descried it. I spend some time at Badlands and was impresses with the park. The vies are simply amazing. Everyone should make the visit to Badlands once in their life to reach outside of your comfort zone. I have seen wildlife, up close and was an amazing experience for me. You can visit to read more stories from Badlands National Park.

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