Exploring and taking pictures – Badlands National Park and vicinity, August 11, 2014
The Cliff Shelf Trail is a loop trail that follows boardwalks and climbs stairs through a juniper forest perched along the Badlands Wall.
Thousands of years ago, a massive stone broke away from the cliff above. Geologists believe that it fell with such force that it compacted the underlying layers of soil and other materials, reducing permeability and slowing drainage, retaining moisture and enabling a more lush vegetation. This type of geological event is called a “slump.”
This is one of two places where we have seen rattlesnakes on a trail. I wrote about this one in a 2007 blog post called Mommy!… Look at me! The little tyke from the 2007 post is in the little image inset into this photo from the same trail last month.
Badlands vegetation, where there is any, is more typically that of the mixed grass prairie, such as that in this photo.
More Badlands images in the future posts.