We continued our drive east and camped at a brilliant place - the Badlands in South Dakota, which we previously knew nothing about. Spectacular landscapes - vast grasslands, rocky undulating badlands. A copious cornucopia of interesting animal life - herds of bison, bighorn sheep, badgers, prairie dogs, birds of all kinds. North of the Badlands is a gaudy but entertaining tourist trap called Wall Drug... worth a visit, just don't stay too long! Starting the drive to Ottawa tomorrow.
This place left a great impression on both of us. It feels like a sacred place, a place of power - being in its presence was awe-inspiring and evocative, primarily of a wordless remembering of something ancient, deeply connected and harmonious, natural and heartfelt. It felt expansive and uplifting. It has long been held as a holy place by many native peoples, who most commonly named it The Bear Lodge among other monikers. A European colonialist later decided to call it the Devils Tower (no apostrophe) for some unknown reason.
From Seattle we drove east, through Washington state, the Idaho panhandle and scenic Montana to the epic and varied landscapes of Wyoming. There we visited legendary Yellowstone National Park, a refuge for wildlife of all kinds - bison and elk and even bears can be seen on a daily basis. We are quite sure we also saw an emu (yes, an emu - an escapee from a local farm?) among many other birds. The active volcanic caldera Yellowstone sits on gives rise to a number of interesting geothermal features which give the place an otherworldly feel. These include many geysers (of which Old Faithful is the most well known), fumaroles (steam vents), mudpots, "travertine terraces" and hot springs. The Grand Prismatic Spring is a unique and mesmerizing orgy or colour and steam (see picture above). The grand and regular gushings of the iconic geyser Old Faithful sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight. They happen every 60-95 minutes day or night, even on holidays. Yellowstone is popular this time of year but we were fortunate to get a site in the northern mammoth campground ($20, first come/served). Years ago I visited the nearby hotsprings after burning man but this time around they were closed as the river was too high.
From Yellowstone we continued east, past Shoshone and into Bighorn National Forest where we found a beautiful isolated and free dispersed camping spot at 8,000 feet. Snow-capped mountains shone in the distance and we pitched our tent in a meadow flanked by pine woods. I took a brief video, which you can see by clicking HERE.