We headed west from the Interior Entrance on the Badlands Loop Road in Badlands National Park.
We had wanted to see the interplay between the bright sun and the dark shadows woven between the spires and craggy edges of the rock formations.
Even arriving at the Park about three hours after sunrise may have been a bit late, since the intensity of the sunlight and shadows was not as dramatic as it might have been ninety minutes earlier.
However, we may have been spent too much time admiring the stunning scenes during the first few minutes on the Loop Road. These dramatic scenes were captivating. However, the contrast of light and shadows disappeared all too quickly.
From the Park's brochure: "Extending generally from west to east through the North Unit is a ridge, or 'wall,' 80 miles long that forms the backbone of the park. Erosion by both water and wind of the sedimentary rock deposits along the face of the wall at a rate of about 1 inch a year has created the charac-teristic scenic Badlands landscape of bare peaks, pinnacles, ridges, spires, and valleys."
These formations are noted for their delicately banded colours, including white (volcanic ash), orange and rusts (iron oxide), grays and tans (mixtures of silt, clay, and ash), and purple (oxidized man-ganese).
Near the end of the Badlands Loop Road, we came upon the Yellow Mounds Overlook. The soft yellows, reds, and purples of the Mounds were in sharp contrast to the whites, grays, and browns of the Badlands pinnacles.
It took us over two hours to traverse the 31 miles of the Loop Road. It was time well-spent, and then it was off to Wall for a late breakfast.