Even the badlands are good. This site in New Mexico, the Bisti (pronounced bis’-tie) Bandlands, is one of those relatively blank spots on the map that turns out to contain visual and geological treasure. Even if you are an aficionado of the famous rock formation parks like Arches, Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley, the Bisti Badlands will strike you with their seemingly impossible eroded rock structures. Bisti is more formally named the De-Na-Zin Wilderness and is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It is surround by Navajo Nation land but it is not, itself, on the reservation. From the dirt road approaches, it is not obvious what geological magic lies within; you have to get out and hike a few miles through trailless, unmarked desert.
One of my favorite parts of De-Na-Zin is a small cove of unusual rocks called, variously, the Eggs, the Cracked Eggs, or the Egg Garden. Ellispoid rock shapes made of concentric sandstone layers have eroded into fantastic shapes reminiscent of cracked and broken eggs. Some of them are perched on small pillars of sandstone. Their colors are nothing to shout about — until the sun is rising or setting, when red and golden light. This photo I made at sunset in February is one of my favorite. The price one pays for this, however, is a return walk of a few miles in the cold and dark. Not a casual undertaking, even if you think you know your way around this remote place.