Dakota Badlands


The majority of South Dakota was flat and barren – not hard to imagine with an entire country population of less than 800,000 people. The sudden change in terrain comes just past Mitchell, as you head toward what’s commonly known as the Badlands National Park. It is not necessary to enter the park to experience the Badlands, but its worth a gander through for the dramatic views and the uniqueness of the hills.



The views from the corrugated walls surrounding the Badlands are spectacular – colorful eroded spires, pinnacles and canyons in multiple reds, oranges, yellows and greens, stretch into the distance. We explored the more developed Hwy 240 loop as well as a less developed loop recommended by a toothless cowboy we met at a truck stop the day before.

In the Badlands, we saw some of the most rapid landscape changes in a short period of time….erosion has carved knife-like edges and canyons throughout, chimneys, pinnacles and turtleback mounds. Through the force of nature, the siltstone, pinnacles and volcanic ash areas have been worn away to scupt the dramatic landscape.



Known to be overwhelmingly hot in the summer, it was a welcome treat after spending several cold nights in Canada, Michigan and northern Minnesota. South Dakota is home to some of the world’s greatest prairie grasslands which I didn’t realize before the trip.


Despite the dry air and high 90 degree temperature, we hiked to the top of one of the mountain peaks in the park. It was surprisingly quiet so we had every breathtaking view and moment to ourselves. We also hit the Sage Creek Rim Road which heads west of the loop, where you can camp and venture into the backcountry by foot.


As the evening approached, the shadows are cast upon the infinite peaks, and it was as if the whole region was part of another world. It reminded me in some ways of Idaho’s Craters of the Moon, but much more dramatic, full of peaks and valleys of delicately banded colors. A sun worshipper, I thrived in the hot sun that beat down on us as we walked through the almost ghostly, wraithlike canyons.



I came across the following quote in a book later that evening and resonated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s first impression of the Badlands in 1935: “I’ve been around the world a lot, but was totally unprepared for the revelation called the Dakota Bad Lands….what I saw gave me an indescribable sense of mysterious elsewhere – a distant architecture, ethereal……an endless supernatural world more spiritual than earth but created out of it.”



Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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