Go South and West, Old Photographer

Driving south along Interstate 29 from Emerson MB through North Dakota and then, sigh, South Dakota, is like driving through Wyoming along Interstate 80: the less said, the better.

But, like Wyoming, there is more to South Dakota than what can be seen from one unfortunate stretch of  Interstate, and it starts with crossing the Missouri River (water! bridges!), about two hours after turning west on Interstate 90.

“Go West, Young Man, Go West.”
John Babson Lane Soule
Popularized by Horace Greeley

The land – heretofore as flat as southern Wyoming in a pan – transforms into rolling hills, a promise of what is to come.  And the first of what comes, tackling this from the East, is the Badlands.

Badlands scene

Now, I get why someone trying to cross this unforgiving country on foot, or even on horse, might call it “bad land,” but in an air-conditioned SUV with ample bottled water, other adjectives come to mind.

Like “vast.”

Badlands scene

Badlands scene

And “varied.”

Badlands scene

Badlands scene

And “majestic.”

Badlands scene

And “colourful.”

Badlands scene

And “stunning.”

Badlands scene

Badlands scene

I’m not the first to be impressed with the aesthetics of the Badlands, of course.

“Let sculptors come to the Badlands.
Let painters come.
But first of all, the true architect should come.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
Quoted in the “Oh, Ranger!” park guide
for the Black Hills, Badlands & Mount Rushmore

Just one thing: Come to the Badlands from the East.  Trust me, you do not want to drive that Interstate in the other direction.


Interested in Frank Lloyd Wright?  Check out this Artsy site which provides a bio and showcases his work (among others).

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2 Comments

  1. Jim Robertson

    They might be the “Bad Lands” but there are everything you describe them as. Drumheller has somewhat same scenery, but noting like as vast.
    Nice set of images. Thanks Isabel

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim R – It’s been years since I’ve driven through the Drumheller badlands, but this was, as you say, similar but more so. But an incentive to add a day trip to Drumheller to my next Calgary stopover.

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