The Lakota, for centuries, have called this area of South Dakota “mako sica” which translates to ‘land bad’. There are extreme temperatures, very little water and almost no rain. French Canadian fur trappers in the early 1900s called the territory “les mauvais terres pour traverse” or ‘bad lands to travel through’.
Today, Badlands is more of a geological term for sedimentary rocks eroded in a dry climate. This park is a prime example of this type of topography. It is such a vast area and seems to appear and disappear into prairie land. There are areas with yellow mounds from different types of soil and minerals in the ground. Also, there are areas of sharp spires, gullies and ridges. We walked through many of the formations and saw many children hunting for fossils and just having a blast climbing over all the stone spires. There were signs everywhere to be aware of rattlesnakes. We stayed on the trails, kept our eyes peeled and were good in the Badlands.