I've done a few of these "touring the Black Hills" posts this year, and I saved the Badlands for now for a reason.
Because I think fall and winter are the best times to visit this unique place.
Photos don't do justice to the beauty.
The first reason why I like the Badlands in the off-season is the light. We're far enough north that the sun sits low on the horizon during the winter months.
|The southern horizon in February.|
That gives us a lot of shadows and colors we don't see during the summer months.
The second reason? Look at these pictures - do you see any people? Cars? When we visit in the winter months, the park rangers at the visitor's center are often the only other people we see. It's quite different in the summer months.
Which brings me to my third reason - We see a LOT more wildlife when we're the only humans for miles.
|A young Bighorn ewe.|
We even saw a Golden Eagle one time, up close and personal, flying along the road just ahead of our car. He looked at us like he wondered why we were in his park.
Much like this guy.
But my favorite reason to visit the park in the fall and winter?
It's hard to imagine, but listen. Right now. What do you hear? Sounds that are beneath your consciousness because you hear them all the time.
A refrigerator running? Traffic on the road outside? The neighbor's radio being played a little too loud? Another neighbor's dog barking? Even your computer emits a slight hum.
But on a winter day in the Badlands, miles from the nearest highway, miles away from any other people, with only the blue sky above...there is silence. Silence like few people ever hear.
That is a sound so refreshing that when I'm not there, I crave it.
Have you ever visited Badlands National Park? Would you want to see it in the winter?