Monday, August 3, 2009

Road Trip: Black Hills, South Dakota Part 1

This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. This also began the tenting portion of our adventure. After we drove for a few hours we camped for the night in Lusk, Wyoming. This was our best tenting night even though we were at a "campground" sandwiched in between the highway and railroad tracks. We stopped early enough to set up the tend in the light and when we woke up the sun had warmed up the tent. Little did we know what was to come or we would have enjoyed that nights sleep much more.

Now on to South Dakota. I really knew nothing about this area before planning this trip. Sure I had heard about it but that was about it. I just knew that I really wanted to see Mt. Rushmore since we were going to be in the area. This area was so beautiful and fascinating!

Our first stop was Jewel Caves outside of Custer. All I can say is WOW!! We were able to take a 1 hour and 20 minute Scenic Tour of the cave. It was amazing! My children loved it. They have constructed a path for the entire tour. You walked on either raised metal pathways with railings or on what looked like cement walkways. There were lots of stairs but I didn't mind since the surroundings were so fascinating. After the tour the kids got a junior ranger book to fill out. They learned a lot about the caves doing these books and really took ownership of their adventure. After they finished they were "sworn in" to become junior rangers and were given a badge. This was an awesome experience that none of us will ever forget.

The picture was taken from here since I didn't take any pictures while touring the cave.

When we went in to the caves it was nice and sunny. When we came out it was pouring buckets of rain. The day was full of surprises. After Jewel Caves we stopped for a bit in Custer, SD. It was a small, cute little town. We ate lunch at a brand new bistro that had awesome pie.

Then we were off to Mt. Rushmore hoping it wasn't raining there. I was so excited and I was surely not disappointed! I was in awe from the first spotting of the face of the mountain driving by.

I wasn't expecting the huge parking garage when we drove in. It was shocking. We went up the stairs out of the garage to see this...I don't know what it was about this memorial but I was in awe from the very moment we stepped in. I loved every minute. I thought it just got more and more impressive as we went along the path through the Avenue of the flags and got up close to the mountain at the Grand View Terrace. Thankfully it had stopped raining. You can see the rain on the faces. It almost looked as if they were crying.

My kids picked up a junior ranger book here also. It had a lot of fun activities to do while at the memorial. One of the activities was a bingo board with lots of different facts they were to find out. We went on a ranger talk to learn about the mountain. My kids were fascinated by all that the ranger had to say. They learned a ton about the artist and the 4 presidents. They could still tell you who Gutzon Borglum was and possibly which president had the Panama Canal constructed. What an educational experience!

Down the elevator, under the Grand View Terrace, was the LincolnBorglum Visitors Center. There was so much to see and learn. My children loved the exhibit where they could push buttons and watch the mountain blow up on the tv. Oh, so easily entertained. They were "sworn in" again here to become junior rangers at this park and picked up another badge. They were lovin' it!

We spent about 3 hours the first day and then went back again the next day to see the Dakota, Lakota, Nakota village and spent a couple more hours looking around. I was sad to have to go. I thoroughly enjoyed this visit and would like to go back someday.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Stay tuned for more travel in South Dakota and some crafting coming up soon.

Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Mt Rushmore is beautiful and something I take for granted living here in South Dakota. Thanks for sharing your experiences while out here in South Dakota. If you head east on I90, be sure to stop at the Chamberlain Rest Area.

    Dave in Pierre, SD


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