Thursday, September 9, 2010

History of the Bad lands

Black hills South Dakota

After nearly 2 weeks of visiting the national parks and monuments in western United States, we found ourselves in the Badlands of Wyoming and South Dakota.
The legendary Black Hills of South Dakota is an oasis of pine-clad mountains on the Great Plains. The mountains and forests of the Black Hills include a treasury of six national parks.
The highway is a road of nearly 100 miles of National Scenic Byways with waterfalls, watchable wildlife, and acclaimed recreational trails abounding. Trout fishing is available in many of the small stream and old West landmarks like Deadwoods and Wounded Knee are near.
I had heard the Badlands National Park was famous for its deep gorges and sharp lunar-like spires while not an expected, I found them very beautiful.
The Lakota gave this its name, "mako sica," meaning "land bad." Located in southwestern South Dakota, the Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. It is desolation at its truest, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization.
I was moved by a unique and striking geologic wonder that is steeped in Indian legend which today is a modern day national park and where climbers' challenge the difficult Devils Tower which sits across the state line in Wyoming before you enter into South Dakota. The tower is a solitary, stump-shaped granite formation that looms 1,267 feet above the tree-lined Belle Fourche River Valley, much like a skyscraper in the country. Once hidden below the earth's surface, erosion has stripped away the softer rock layers revealing the Tower.
I watched many young men and women as they climbed to the very top of this tower and felt their jubilation as they looked down and waved denoting their success.
Afterwards, we were able to view where the Crazy Horse Memorial is being carved into the Black Hills granite. Another secret is that the second-longest cave in the world, Jewel Cave, is in the Black Hills
The region enjoys an unmatched brand of Old West history; with legendary names like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, General George A. Custer, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith.
Soon we had entered into South Dakota where few attractions stir the emotions of visitors the way Mount Rushmore does. Since its completion in 1941, it has joined the Statue of Liberty and the Stars & Stripes as one of America's most inspiring symbols of democracy.
This whole area was beyond my expectations and would love to visit it again.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. “--Proverbs 18:10

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on

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