The steep Saddle Pass trail drops down the face of the Badlands Wall to connect the upland prairie to the heavily eroded lowland basin of the White River. Thought to have been used by native Americans, the trail later served as a route for homesteaders in the early 20th century who would leave their wagons at the top, guide their horses down the face of the wall, gather supplies at the town near the base and then carry their supplies back up to their waiting wagons.
Erosion is the defining feature of the landscape here. The Badlands Wall represents the leading edge of erosion into a formation of sand, clay, silt and ash deposited over 24 million years ago during a dry period of the earth's climate. The ash and clay in the soil and the rapid erosion since the end of the dry period prevent most plants from taking hold - hence the name, badlands. Only a thin layer of grass supporting soil keep the upland prairies from rapidly slipping away. In the lowlands, soil blankets preserve a few old mounds of sediment deposited by streams eroding the badlands in ages past.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.