Dang right, it’s cold.

So what? Let’s go!

This year is one of the coldest winters on record – and it’s tempting to hide until spring.  Don’t do it!  Be brave.  Bundle up and get outdoors.  We did.

Because the golden hour is our favorite time to photograph the Badlands, even in winter, we plan late-day photo shoots.  That means heading out at sunset when the temperatures are on a downward slide.

Bundle Up

The thermometer showed nine-below-zero. That’s right, -9 F.  A northwest wind pushed it down to -31 wind chill.  Bare skin will freeze in 10 minutes.  So, we left our cutoffs and flip-flops at home. 

Layer up

Before we left home, we knew if we had time we were going to drive into the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s why we layered up with the best insulating long underwear we have.  Then another layer or two on top. We packed our ski pants and headed out.

We drove through the park and back to a ridge we thought would give us a good look at the sunset.

Our hands were clumsy with gloves and mittens.  Putting on the snowshoes was difficult.


snowshoe snow bison tracks

Bison tracks and grazing patches show that bison were here recently.

We headed up the hill to challenge ourselves a little.  Snowshoeing is new to us, so we push our boundaries every time we go out.  This time, we trudged up a small hill to a flat plain.


Here, the bison tracks were thick. We could see they had tried grazing here but had moved on. We didn’t see them. Our hope for a good bison shot was not satisfied.  Still, we were getting good heart-pumping exercise that kept us warm.


We snowshoed along the ridge looking for good winter images,

snowshoe down the hill  then back down the hill to the Jeep.



Venus’ Belt

sunset venus belt badlands snow

Magenta and pink skies appear in the east at sunset.  This is called Belt of Venus, or Venus’ Belt.

For a few minutes at sunset there is a short reward, the Belt of Venus.  While the sun sets in the west, look to the east to see the blended hues of magenta and pink.  The horizon ahead of us contrasted starkly with the blue cast of the snowy hills.

We were out in the cold for 15 minutes, and the most unbearable part was putting on the snowshoes. Once we started moving, the cold no longer was a factor.  We made our own heat.

Now back in the Jeep, the heater blew away the lingering cold on our clothes.

We were going to sleep well tonight. Endorphins raging. It was good.

Stay frosty, my friend

What do you do outside in the winter?  Have you been having to work outside in the record-cold?

Share this story with someone you think would like to brave the cold on snowshoes.  

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Beauty from the Heart of the Badlands, A Photographic Exhibit

Beauty from the Heart of the Badlands, A Photographic Exhibit, from the Heart. February 23 through March 30, 2019, Long X Trading Post and Visitor Center, Watford City, North Dakota        www.BeautifulBadlandsND.com