Trip to South Dakota

August 6, 2015

For the summer of 2015, our family decided to take a seven day trip to the obscure state of South Dakota.  I bet the only thing you know about South Dakota is that it’s capital is Pierre, and Mount Rushmore is there.  To my surprise, there’s a lot more to South Dakota than it’s famous Monument of the four brilliant presidents.  In fact, I used up approximately 97% of my 16GB SD card in my camera.  Obviously there were many moments I wanted to capture, and I will share with you my favorites.

On the first day (July 29), we explored the Black Hills & Mount Rushmore, visited the Crazy Horse Monument, and drove through a herd of North American Bison.

The location of Rushmore offers amazing views of the Black Hills parallel to the monument.  Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the result of 14 years of hard work.  It involved the efforts of nearly 400 men and women.  Fortunately, no fatalities occurred during the 14 years it took to construct the colossal monument.


That same day we visited the unfinished monument dedicated to Crazy Horse.  The foreground is a 1/300th scale replica of the soon-to-be completed (not really) 564′ x 640′ monument in the background. It took 50+ years just to carve out the base and 87′ head. This will most likely still be under construction during our lifetime. It’s taking so long because it’s privately funded.




To finish the day off, we drove through a herd of Buffalo.  I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that dangerous?  No.  We stayed in our car and didn’t disrupt them.  They’re used to seeing cars, they will just move out of the way.



The next day, we explored the Bad Lands.  The Bad Lands are a 244,000 acre fossil bed.  This beautiful landscape is the result of erosion which took place for millions of years.



Next, we climbed to the top of Bear Butte and bought souvenirs from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  Bear Butte (LOL BUTT!!!) is a mountain and sacred Indian land with a summit of 4,428 feet above sea level.  It’ll take you at least an hour to climb up, but not nearly as long to climb down.  Many Indians perform sacred rituals and prayers on the mountain.  Throughout your endeavor to reach the top of the summit, you’ll see evidence of said Indian activity.



Neither I nor my family are attached to motorcycles and the culture, but it was amazing to see so many people in a small town.  Sturgis, South Dakota, where the yearly motorcycle rally takes place, has a population of 6,883.  It’s estimated that the population will increase to 1.5 million during the 75th anniversary of the Rally.  That’s about a 21,793% increase in population…




Then, we explored the Black Hills and it’s waterfalls.



On August 2nd, we drove one state over to Wyoming to check out Devil’s Tower.  Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion (the entry of molten rock into or between other rock formations) of igneous material.



On the last day, we explored Wind Cave in Hot Springs, South Dakota.  Wind Cave is an impressive find of mankind.  It has breath-taking views above ground, and below.  It’s the sixth longest cave in the world with 144 miles of discovered cave passageways.  The neat thing is, four new miles are added each year!  It’s deepest known point is 532 feet below the surface, but only researchers go down that far, and when they do, the camp.  Wind Cave is a unique cave.  Since it’s very dry and it takes almost a year for any water to get down there from the surface, it doesn’t have the well-known stalactites and stalagmites which are found in most caves.  It has something called boxwork, which is illustrated in the pictures below.  It’s fragile webbing on the walls and ceiling on the cave caused by erosion and acidic water.



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    August 6, 2015

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