Last Day in Badlands

May 24
The rain started in the early morning hours and by sunrise was coming down steadily. This would last all day. Virtually all the tent campers are gone and few people are about. The badlands peaks and plateau are completely obscured in fog and rain. It did afford us the opportunity to catch up on image processing and blog updates and that is just what we did.48136-badlands4The skies lifted a bit by 3 PM and since this was our last chance to see the landscape in a patch or two of sunlight, we headed out for the rim drive again. We’d picked out a couple of the overlooks we liked most and stopped here and there again to see how constant rain would affect the area. It is so flat here that water doesn’t move fast when it flow. It more like just collects in low spots and rises. It also turns these hard packed mud hills and badlands to something more slippery than oil. This makes hiking the trails impossible and driving the roads unwise.
48112-badlands4Out on the road, we first stopped at pullout next to some colorfully banded hills. Just yesterday these hills appeared almost white. Now, with all the rain, they were wet and appeared to be a darker brown, banded with pale red.48108-badlands4Back at the trailhead we hiked from a couple of days ago, the dry wash we crossed to start was dry no longer. The scenes all over the park had changed because of the steady rain. New mud was flowing near the Fossil Walk. It was interesting to see how it moved and mixed. The boardwalk that is this trail make doing this little walk possible.48124-badlands4 48128-badlands4Just across the road another trail takes off. The mud prints leading off, then suddenly stopping and turning back attest to the mucky conditions everywhere. Go off a walkway, go slipping and sliding.48132-badlands4But still we got very little sunlight breaking through. We stopped at our spots, waited, changed spots, waited, but got nothing great. We headed back because it was just getting cloudier again. Some days are just like that.48138-badlands4 48139-badlands4 48148-badlands4Back in camp, just a few minutes before sunset, the sun broke out. Not sure if the universe was giving us a gift or laughing at us.48151-badlands4

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