CC Day 4 – The Prairie and The Badlands

The prairie was a completely new experience for this lifelong New Englander. Though I had never been there, a love for the prairie settled in my heart years ago when I first read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If not for her books, I wouldn’t have known that the prairie isn’t really flat but a series of low, rolling, green and gold hills. Nor would I have been prepared for the giant dome of sky and the inescapable sunshine. For those of you who have never been, the prairie (in June anyway) is an awful lot like being at the ocean: hot under the big, blue sky and bright sun with a constant warm blowing breeze. The land is flat and covered in low growing grass and one feels that just as she reaches the top of the next hill, there she will find the ocean. But instead she sees only more hills, more grass, more sky.  There are waves, not of blue and white, but of green and gold, and instead of the smell of salt air, one breathes in the dry scent of prairie grass and earth. Yet it is quiet. No surf pounding against the shore. Just gentle, sweet rustling. What a beautiful, free place!

I imagine that prolonged time on the prairie can get rather monotonous and when the Ingalls arrived here there were no trees, no barns, no silos – just grass and sky. I can hardly imagine it! My family endured several stops to satisfy my Little House affections. We visited Walnut Grove, Plum Creek, Silver Lake (sort of) and two museums. We rode on a covered wagon, made corn cob dolls (I made one too), went in a sod hous and two actual houses Laura lived in and wrote about. It was wonderful!

After that we drove on to the badlands. What a difference! We left the rustic but relatable stories of family life on the prairie and walked into the surreal, dreamlike rock formations of the badlands. I have experienced nothing like it before and I am not sure I will again. This is one of those rare occasions where I am at a loss for words. So today you get to see our first picture! We are limited by Doug’s wireless access account as to how many pictures we can upload. This means most of our pics have to be uploaded via hotel internet access and we just haven’t had time. Enjoy this one to the fullest…not sure how long it will be before I upload the next one!

We ended the day by racing a storm to our hotel. The lightning was an awesome sight because out here you can see the storms miles and miles away. We were driving west into the setting sun and the sky behind us and to our south was almost black. The result was a giant double rainbow rising from the farms up into the dark clouds. The combination and seeming paradox of such beauty and ferocity at once reminded of our God: mighty, beautiful, strong, compassionate…simply awe inspiring.

Well, we’re off again. Hope you can feel my cyber hug!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “CC Day 4 – The Prairie and The Badlands

  1. Hey! Deb L. told me about your blog… it’s so fun to journey vicariously with you! You are making me miss Minnesota with your wonderful description of the prairie. Isn’t it glorious?! I’m amazed you have made it so far out west already in only a few days. You are hardy travelers! Happy Father’s Day to Doug and may he get sole access to the remote at tonight’s stop! Love you guys!! Diane

    • Hi Diane! Thanks for you for your kind words about the blog! I am having lots of fun writing it. Plus we are seeing so much in such a short amount of time, I am bound to forget!!! We have travelled ALOT and are very tired. This is the hardest part (fastest moving) part of our trip so hopefully later this week things will feel like they are slowing down. The prairie is amazing…glorious is a great word for it. Love you too!

  2. Nichole, I loved the Little House series! What a great idea. Sounds like you’re having such a good time…thanks for blogging about your trip. I have to say that I don’t know anything about the badlands…I’m going to google it right now! Talk to you later! I pray you continue to have a safe trip!! 🙂

  3. I LOVED the Little House on the Praire books. I can imagine myself there with your beautiful description.
    This is the first summer in two years that we aren’t traveling west. I miss it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s