The West
The Badlands, Wall Drugs, Horses, and Ranches.

A bike's eye view of negotiating the roads that wind through this rugged country. There is a circular, "scenic drive" that meanders through the park. It is great fun on a motorcycle, and a pleasant enough trip by car. 
The low formations identify this as one of the more geologically mature areas of the park. The closer formations are only a few feet high. The formations in the distance are not more than 10 feet high. 
Though not quite a desert, this area is considered to be semi-desert. There is virtually no rain for most the year. In the spring, and the fall, there are torrential rains, which must sustain what life there is, for the rest of the year. 
A chance rock, or inconsistency in the bedding has allowed for part of this formation to resist erosion, and maintain a bit more material, causing it to rise above the surrounding rocks. It is a resistance which will be proven futile, however, as is demonstrated by the worn down formations around it. 
A thin rib, or wall, of rock. Formations like this are where the city of Wall got it's name, and where the old "Hole in the Wall Gang" got it's name from. This is not coincidence, but is the actual area where these famous outlaws hid out, and settled. 
This picture is a bit blurred, not because my focus was bad, but because it was taken from a moving motorcycle. Photos like this remind me just how foolish people can be when they are young. 
A parting shot of the Badlands, from one of the scenic pull outs. The ultimate fate of this area can be seen by the flat area at the bottom. This is a more resistant layer of rock, which has held enough of the soil, from the constant runoff of mudstone, to support some hardy vegetation. 
A steep sided formation, it's height, and extreme grade indicate that it is a mid sequence formation. This structure will thin out and collapse, leaving a low, heavy base, which will indicate a mature formation. This base will wear away relatively quickly. Of course, in the context of the geological time of the Badlands, we are talking about hundreds, or thousands of years. 
The parking lot of Wall Drugs in Wall South Dakota. Look at all of those old cars form the seventies. The place was, and continues to be, a tourist attraction (trap), but I loved it. I was more of a purist on this first trip, and took no pictures of Wall, or Wall Drugs, wishing to save my film for nature, and scenic wonders. 
The attraction of this picture is obvious. I would have liked to have met the couple, and said hello. The optimist in me says that, after over twenty years, they are still married. 
Four horses "outstanding in their field". Being a city boy, I was not really used to seeing large animals just wandering around, and horses were something that you saw in stables, or pulling circus wagons during the parade. 
I assume that the farm off in the distance, is where the owner of the horses lived. Probably all of the land I could see in every direction was owned by these people. The barbed wire kind of discouraged a visit, which I suppose was the idea. Who needs a bunch of tourists milling around and being a nuisance?
The horses seemed to have taken some notice of me, as I stood by the fence taking pictures. The black horse in the background seems to be trying to make up his mind about me. The brown, way in the distance, seems a bit more jaded, and uninterested than his companions. 
Off in the background of this shot, just short of the rise, you can barely make out four shapes. These are pronghorns, and this was I close as I was to get to one of these rapidly moving animals. 
What a truly "nosey" horse. these were some of the friendliest horses I ever saw. They walked right up to the fence, and pushed their heads at me, letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that they needed to be scratched, and patted. How could I say no to an offer like this?
Horses in the sun. They seemed quite content, and I was quite content to spend some time with them. 
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