“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous”. – Aristotle
There are few things in life as spectacular as a sunset. Sunset tends to be my favorite time of day, as the light casts shadows and rays of brilliant, ever-changing colors across the horizon. It is hard to decide whether I prefer watching the sunset over water or land. Each has it own set of attributes and wonder.
The last day of our summer vacation to South Dakota was rewarded with a magical sunset over the Badlands. The utter, surreal beauty of this vast land of jagged buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires seemed to come to life as the sun set. Although it only lasted a short while, it was by far the highlight of our week-long trip.
We left our hotel shortly after dinner and drove into the deserted Badlands National Park. Most of the day tourists had come and gone and we had the entire place to ourselves. It had cooled down to a delightful temperature, much more conducive to hiking than during the hot, shadeless afternoon scorch of July heat. Our only obstacle was time. We only would have an hour to hike until it was completely dark.
The views were astounding and the rock formations became even more colorful as the sun dipped further below the horizon. The deep maroon-hued rings of sediment became even more dramatic with sunset. During the daytime, you can hardly see them but at night the rocks looked like candy cane stripes.
It was so incredibly peaceful that evening. The only sound you could hear was the constant buzz of the mosquitos which believe it or not came out in masses at night.
As we set off along a short trail, I couldn’t resist stopping to take the dramatic scenery all in. Camera in hand, I snapped away marveling at the magical sight before my eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before in all my travels. The Badlands felt like they went on forever, and what was even more amazing is that they were below me, not above.
“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”. – Roald Dahl
If you turned away from the sunset and looked back at the rocks, they were almost colorless. Even this landscape was unusual and surprising. It kind of reminded me of being someplace in the desert.
Unfortunately time was not in our hands. I would have loved to have hiked more but it was getting dark fast. It was time to head back to the hotel. Before we left I took two final shots of the beautiful Badlands. It is a place I will never forget.
It continues to amaze me what an incredible planet we have. The world is worth preserving and protecting for future generations. It is too special to not do everything we can to save our planet.