Arriving at Bandlands National Park
Crater Lake National Park - Such a Deal...

Invoking the Tactile Senses at Badlands National Park

Rocky texture castle trail


In the Badlands, I  was most likely to filter my experiences through the sense of touch.  I felt the wind and constant erosion.  Colors were tactile,  broken down into sediments of pigment.   I felt the cycling of light and shadow as wind drove the clouds overhead. The textures of grasses and shrubs were soft, crisp, brittle, porous, and sticky.  Everywhere felt palpable and temporary.

Because of the human scale of the formations, I could move quickly through them on hikes, navigating by their undulations as much as by sight.  The tactile was a more sure way of orienting.  Viewpoint was insufficient as it changed so quickly.  Despite the open trail policy - I stayed on trails.  When I occasionally lost sight of trail markers, I steered by the feel of trail worn down by others.

Here's my favorite, formation, "Yellow Mounds".  I imagined them tasting of butterscotch and caramel. I saw them as soft, warm, and smooth.  But, I  felt them as cold, dry, and brittle as I raked the grasses through my fingers.


Golden mounds