Thursday, September 06, 2007

September 5, 2007

We traveled to the Badlands National Park yesterday and spent six hours inside the park. It was a great day of seeing sights and photographing them. We went early in the morning, hoping to see good shadows as well as wildlife and we hit the jackpot in all ways. The Badlands consists of about half grassland and half rugged mountains and hoodoos. The mountains are a dull, gray/beige color, but in many places at the bottom of the canyons you see yellow ochre, quinacridone rose and purple colors, much like a graded wash. I can't help it, I see names of paint in the colors of nature! I hope to start a painting of those this afternoon, we are having a quiet afternoon back at the motorhome.

We saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep (ewes and lambs only) that came right across the road in front of us. I got quite a few photos of them, they are much bigger in front of you than when seen at a distance on the side of a mountain. They were perfectly calm, munching on their roadside breakfast.

The bison is one of the herd that is resident in the park, there are something like seven hundred of them in the herd. There was no fence keeping them enclosed so I utilized my telephoto lens so as not to disturb them or cause a tragic confrontation! We have seen such stupid people going right up to them in Yellowstone Park, I wanted no part of that. They, at one point, wandered across the road in front of the Toyota minivan in front of us and quite a few of the adult males were taller than the minivan, just enormous beasts.

The prairie dog towns were so entertaining to sit and watch. We would pull up beside the road and just watch them. These guys were all sunning themselves (I think) and when we stopped, the front little guy started sounding alarms for the town....they didn't run and hide in their dens, just kept an alert eye on us. They squeek/bark quite loudly. It was funny.

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