Back from the Black Hills

Earlier this year I told Ed that I wanted to show the kids some of the places my parents took my siblings and I when we were young. Spring Break was spent in Washington DC and this summer we spent a week in South Dakota in the Black Hills area.

It has been 30+ years since I was in the Black Hills. I vividly remember Mount Rushmore and have a vague recollection of Custer State Park and the Badlands. A few other memories are scattered in there of either Wounded Knee or Custer's Last Battleground, but I can't remember which. I don't remember if the Black Hills area was very touristy back then, but even if it was, my dad would have avoided those attractions. We stuck mainly to the natural wonders, with the obvious exception of Mount Rushmore.

On this trip, Ed and I tried to do the same. Despite the emphatic recommendations of several fellow hotel guests, we did not see Reptile Land, Bear Country, Flinstone's Bedrock, Cosmos, or the Old West Gun Fight show. All of those sounded just too cheesy. We did venture slightly into 'cheesiness' by stopping at Wall Drug and taking the 1880 Train ride. Ed vetoed a stop at the Corn Palace because it was too Griswold. Here are some of the highlights from what we did do.

Stopped at Wall Drug for lunch and a little browsing through their shops.

Visited Mount Rushmore. Dash is trying to become one with the sculptures.

Toured Needles Highway through Custer State Park.

Saw bison in Custer State Park and the Badlands National Park. Lots and lots of bison. Bison on the road blocking traffic in Custer SP. These animals were grazing along the road. Several cars, including us, stopped to watch. I was stunned when a family got out of their car in the middle of the herd and put their child on the roof of their car to get a better look. The alpha male was right by our car and he kicked a few other bulls right in front of us. I can't believe those people had a total disregard for how dangerous these animals could be.

This is one of the wild burros from Custer SP. This particular guy reminded us of Donkey from Shrek. They were so tame. We had to remind the kids that they still were wild animals and don't expect them to behave like a pet.

There were pronghorn and prairie dogs.

And finally very unusual terrain in the Badlands National Park.

We also took the Lantern Tour through Jewel Cave. The kids were a little hesitant at first, but after we got inside they realized it wasn't that hard to climb through the cave. I wasn't able to take my camera because I couldn't fit it in my pocket (a requirement for anything you bring). The kids said they'd like to explore more caves.

And finally, even though I packed 3 projects to work on, no knitting or crocheting occurred. I was too tired from our exploring to do anything in the evenings.