Tag Archives: south Dakota

The Black Hills of South Dakota

25 Aug

We woke up to a staggeringly gorgeous sunrise in the Badlands and spied on some coyotes in the hills with binoculars. We headed over to The Black Hills just an hour or so west. We lunched in the Western town of Keystone to some local fair and saw such wonderful things as long haired men in leather chaps and matching embroidered wolf jacket.
We then went to see Mt. Rushmore which was pretty nifty. Then continued onto Needles highway, a windy little road going through tunnels and around “the black hills”, which are these dark grey fingerlike rocks sticking up on the mountain tops. We got out and climbed on the rocks barefoot, like monkeys on a jungle gym. All the kids were jealous their parents wouldn’t let them do the same. We continued our drive onto “wildlife loop” which took us through Custer State park. We saw herds of bison, more prairie dogs, and wild asses (…). We even saw a wild fox and a horse in a stand off, and made friends with a brazen little squirrel while we snacked on a hill. Chipmunks swarmed that hill like adorable little flees. After the epicness that was wildlife loop, we zoomed back to the town of Keystone where we just made the last showing of “One of South Dakotas Best comedy gun shows” starring “Big Dave” a three time, third place, South Dakota gun twirler. They sang soon to be famous songs like “John Wayne is still the king”, complete with a video slide show of John Wayne photos. Meanwhile Big Dave, 7’2″, (as his name tag red) re-enacted shoot-outs from a few of the best known western bar fights, as he shot blanks into the crowd. We loved it so much we bought a signed poster at the end.

After the show we managed to find a campground in the dark and set up our tent in record time. I shone the flashlight into the woods and saw three pairs of glowing green eyes staring back at me before climbing into the tent.

The Black Hills of South Dakota

25 Aug

We woke up to a staggeringly gorgeous sunrise in the Badlands and spied on some coyotes in the hills with binoculars. We headed over to The Black Hills just an hour or so west. We lunched in the Western town of Keystone to some local fair and saw such wonderful things as long haired men in leather chaps and matching embroidered wolf jacket.
We then went to see Mt. Rushmore which was pretty nifty. Then continued onto Needles highway, a windy little road going through tunnels and around “the black hills”, which are these dark grey fingerlike rocks sticking up on the mountain tops. We got out and climbed on the rocks barefoot, like monkeys on a jungle gym. All the kids were jealous their parents wouldn’t let them do the same. We continued our drive onto “wildlife loop” which took us through Custer State park. We saw herds of bison, more prairie dogs, and wild asses (…). We even saw a wild fox and a horse in a stand off, and made friends with a brazen little squirrel while we snacked on a hill. Chipmunks swarmed that hill like adorable little flees. After the epicness that was wildlife loop, we zoomed back to the town of Keystone where we just made the last showing of “One of South Dakotas Best comedy gun shows” starring “Big Dave” a three time, third place, South Dakota gun twirler. They sang soon to be famous songs like “John Wayne is still the king”, complete with a video slide show of John Wayne photos. Meanwhile Big Dave, 7’2″, (as his name tag red) re-enacted shoot-outs from a few of the best known western bar fights, as he shot blanks into the crowd. We loved it so much we bought a signed poster at the end.

After the show we managed to find a campground in the dark and set up our tent in record time. I shone the flashlight into the woods and saw three pairs of glowing green eyes staring back at me before climbing into the tent.

Entering South Dakota

21 Aug

We wake up early and hit the purple back roads of Minnesota (who knew?). Our first stop is Jeffers Petroglyphs. By the time we arrive both of us are pretty sure that I’ve done some shoddy navigation work and we are in the middle of nowhere but low and behold a little visitor center appears in cross plane of fields and prairies. We enter in and are told do watch a movie to “put us in the mood”. G and I glance at each other suspiciously. We sit in the room and press the painted turtle button (it’s one of those kind of places) and watch a short interpretive video flooded with images and symbols and drums and buffalo grunts. I begin to wonder if this is all just some peyote trance. The video ends with the crack of lightening from spirit eagles mouth or something equally as epic and I leave feeling very extremely tuned into to mother earth and quite convinced that I am a reincarnated Plains Indian.
We are led out onto this flat red rock in which literally thousands of carvings are made. Most of them are very faint and difficult to see but Gary our guide uses fancy things like mirrors in shadows to illuminate the petroglyphs. There are Thunder birds and horned turtles and hands and a slew of mystery symbols all etched into this sacred rock between 70000- 500 years ago. It was all very mystical and awesome.
We hop in the car again and picnic at some muddy little creek side and watch giant trucks pass by.
We hit the road again and drive only a few sweet hours before crossing in to South Dakota and deciding to break camp early today and enjoy the afternoon. We go to the Palisades State Park on Split Rock Creek and despite positive reviews in our guide book I’m not expecting much. The land is flat and full of corn. And that’s about it. We drive into the park and find this exotic oasis of red cliffs and gorges along the side of this creek (which we get to camp- ON). Boom. New high standard. This place is awesome, we spend the afternoon rock climbing and teaching yogi to “stone hop” on the creek so his feet don’t get wet (he’s a little vain in that way). It is a natural playground. We make grilled cheeses on the campfire (and I have to say they turned out pretty tasty) and salad. We try to count the stars as they become visible and found that if you squint hard enough in any one spot they start to appear. And find that if we squint hard enough in any one spot a star will appear. We fall asleep and are awaken once in the night to raccoon rummaging through our tings. Guillaume has graciously allowed me to quote him because he was an eye witness “He was huge!! He had arms like a fat foot ball player. He could have kicked all of our asses”. I begin to wonder how long this Frenchman will last in the American wilderness…