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This summer, I took the long seven hour drive, from St. Paul, Minnesota to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The only other time that I had been to Badlands was as a child (about 40 years ago). It was a long drive, but it was well worth it. I think Badlands National Park is an often overlooked national treasure. I was there during peak tourist season and often I did not see another person for hours. Many people quickly drive through Badlands on their way to Mount Rushmore; missing much of the incredible, diverse, beautiful landscape, wildlife and vegetation.
The landscape in Badlands is remarkable and wildlife is everywhere. I was surprised (especially this year) to see wildflowers throughout the park. Since most of the United States is experiencing severe drought conditions this year, I did not expect to see the lush green landscapes and flowers all across the park . The terrain in Badlands National Park is very diverse with landscapes varying from rugged red layered rock cliffs; to soft multicolored hills of rock; to flat green prairie; to black volcanic rock (as in this shot).
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor