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© Marin Stefani 2020. All images on this site are copyrighted by Marin Stefani. All rights reserved, reproduction and copy prohibited.

badlands

43.8554° N, 102.3397° W

After seeing pictures of it online, a few friends and I decided to take a trip to the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. After 8 hours of driving through the farmlands of the Midwest, we arrived at night to our first camp site, where we pitched our tents and went to sleep. It's only when we woke up the following morning that we saw the landscape we had ventured into. The place was surreal, an infinite succession of low, rocky mountains and large patches of tall grass, where countless buffalos

and herds of Bighorn sheep were roaming free. 

person hiking, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA

The next morning, we decided to do a 22 km (13,7 mi) loop over the course of two days. We had seen a mention of the loop online, along with GPS coordinates, but it dated from 2011, and hadn't been updated since. Still, we were determined to do it. After making sure we had enough water and the gear we needed, we left the campsite and our cars and began the trail, following the tracking points on our GPS. The trail was often clearly visible, as it cut through the grass and the dry landscape. Sometimes, though, we would have to crawl through small but dense forests, or climb a steep ridge, to find our way. We camped out in the middle of the steppe, in a small valley that protected us from the furious wind. The following day, we set out to finish the loop, off-trail, making our way through the park and its many narrow canyons, with only buffalos to keep us company. We made it back late in the afternoon, exhausted and thirsty, but proud of the journey accomplished.  

Mountains, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Bighorn sheeps fighting, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Bighorn sheeps, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Tree at sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Car at Sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Car at Sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Camp at night, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Fast car at sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Pink clouds at sunset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Mountains, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Person hiking, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
People hiking, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
People hiking on a ridge, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Person hiking, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Bisons, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Bisons, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Three people hiking, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Car and bighorn sheeps, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA