Monday, August 16, 2010

Badlands.. At Last...




Well, I figured I'd file another post this evening after an incredible late afternoon and evening. After a brief stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell (yes, they design murals using corn cobs), I beat it along I90 and got into the Badlands (only 5 hours of driving today!). I took a short hike out to an overlook near the entrance and was blessed with some fantastic views.

This evening, they had an incredible astronomy program. There is no light pollution out here whatsoever. The sky is big and bright and the National Park Service brought some major league tools. A multi-media show including laser pointers to navigate the constellations and three high-powered telescopes that allowed me to see multiple distant galaxies and the moons and stripes on Jupiter. Of course, the Perseid meteor showers are still continuing so we had shooting stars to add to the spectacular show. Glad that no rattlesnakes found me while wandering in the dark back to my car. As I sat down to add this blog entry, I saw a satellite pass through the ladle of the Big Dipper. The last time that I can remember a sky so big and so bright was on Prince Edward Island. Remember, Dave & Lauren?

Fortunately, I was able to get a camp site in the park. Tomorrow, I will choose to leave the park after taking in more of the scenic overlooks. Talking to others, I've been told that I really need to spend plenty of time in the Black Hills. Several sources have told me that there is awesome wildlife and hiking in Custer State Park and that I need to get on the Needles Highway. At least two, perhaps three days before heading north to Jasper National Park. It is finally starting to feel like a vacation...

3 comments:

Mary said...

Scott it sounds amazing. I would have loved the star show!!! Glad to see you are finally feeling like you are on a vacation.

Linda said...

You will have a lot of stories to tell us when you come back. You seem to have a connection with corn though......Jeff is now planning a trip to Mitchell's.

Sharon said...

Glad to read of your adventures and chat with you on the phone. I would have liked to hear what the buffalo had to say!

Have a fun hike and keep making the most of every day!