So beautiful it hurts

Sometimes it seems like the Badlands are just too alluring for people, and they leave their brains at the gate, only to romp around on the buttes like they are moutain goats wearing Crocs.  Especially this weekend, there were people stuck and falling all over. 

It’s almost like evolution’s Venus-fly-trap.  People schedule their family vacations to see as much as possible in the shortest time possible, and they end up rushing through it all and having to go to extremes, if you will.  Instead of taking a half day to do a normal hike through the Badlands, they find the most dramatic place possible, try to climb to the most photoesque place possible for that perfect photo album shot, and they didn’t take the time for their brains to catch up. 

It is funny, too, because they want to understand the Badlands in the short time they are there.   Most of the animals and plants that live here don’t live IN the badlands, but in the surrounding prairie.  We look over tons of Junior Ranger books that describe imaginary animals that have adaptations to climb and survive in the Badlands.   People come up and want you to explain how these badlands formed in one sentence.  It’s really a society of ‘don’t waste my time, I need the quick headline’. 

I think one of the better things of the Badlands is being here for so long you don’t look at the Badlands anymore, you look at what surrounds them, what’s on them, what the details are.   Sure, the stripes are nice, but look at the cracking soils, the fossils of animals that didn’t make it out of here alive, the struggles of all the present day animals and people. 

You can go for the dramatic here, but it can be so overwhelming it hides all the real treasures hidden within the 30 million year old sediments.

If only there were more time.  More time for the Badlands, more time for the people visiting.  Both have other places to go, though, and that’s a fact of life, I suppose. 

The picture before this one had a wall cloud in it, off to the right, but the neat part is the way the formations and clouds contrast.  It’s like the land is glowing with the fact that there might be some moisture.  Maybe it’s better not to get it, since after you get it, it becomes ordinary in it’s own extraordinary way.  :)

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