Back from Cowboy Country!

Hello again!

I’ve missed my blog (even though I’ve only been gone for a week & I’m the only one reading this :P).

Where have I been? Hmm, take a guess. Somewhere glamorous, like Paris, or perhaps, Cancoon?

If they were referred to as “Cowboy Country”…maybe.

But we all know that the cowboy is all-American!

Last week we (my family & I) took a road-trip out west to South Dakota for a couple of days. From here to Rapid City it was a twelve-hour drive (stops included) inside a rather cramped minivan through virtually nothing.

Now whenever I hear someone talk about over-population I’ll laugh and tell ’em to go to South Dakota. Seriously.

But, it was gorgeous. We drove through the Badlands on our way there, and it’s pretty interesting–they look like some kind of shallow sea was there. And they’re a lot smaller up-close than they look from far-away.

First day, we went and saw Mt. Rushmore. It’s so life-like in person! While there, we saw a 15-minute video on it and learned a couple of things about it.

First off, there were no fatalities in carving the faces. None whatsoever, despite the facts that they were blasting with dynamite, swinging from little chairs on wires while doing so, in the middle of virtually nowhere, all during the Great Depression.

Now that’s success.

They were supposed to have torsos, but Mr. Borglum died before it was completed, so it stopped there.

teepee building

We also saw a demonstration on how to build a teepee. Easier than you’d think!

bison

We also learned the difference between buffalo & bison. Those above (yes, they were actually crossing the road ten feet from us!) are bison, the kind you’d find roaming around South Dakota & Wyoming. Buffalo are the kind in zoos, apparently. (There’s more than that, but it’s technical differences).

We also did a day driving through Custer State Park. It’s so open. 

CusterCollage

Needles Highway, by the way, is mind-blowing. The top-right & lower-left photos are of the Highway, and they don’t begin to cover how incredible it looks in person.

I feel like I’m getting to sound like the guide-books.

Hiking Collage

We also took a three-and-a-half mile hike near at Jewel Cave National Monument while we were waiting for our tour of the actual cave. No words…just look at the pictures. (And, boy, was it more tiring than you’d think!)

Now, I didn’t get any actual pictures inside the Jewel Cave. One, it was 280 feet underground and 49 degrees. Two, it was wet and I was trying not to slip on the stairs and fall to my death. Three, the lighting was…well…as you’d expect in a cave.

failatcavepic

Darn you, flash. 

And then we went to Yellowstone, Wyoming. Another eight-hour drive from Rapid City in a cramped minivan through nothingness.

Until you hit the actual park.

And then it’s just gorgeous.

Geysers! 

GeyserCollage 

Turquoise pools! 

turquoisepoolscollage

And…bubbling mud? 

bubblingmud

*plop* Yep. Bubbling mud. That smelled like sulfur.

Everything smelled like sulfur. In other words, nasty eggs. 

Ick.

Okay, last day with pictures, I promise!

And it’s pretty, too.

rainbowwaterfall

This is not photoshopped!

We took a hike on a trail called Uncle Tom’s Trail, and it went down a ways of stairs, leading to a platform where you could witness this. 

Gorgeous, no?

Almost worth the immense effort it took to get back up those stairs.

Did I mention they went straight up?

And we were at an altitude of over 8,000 feet above sea level? 

But it was a rainbow, & that made everything better…almost. 🙂 

So that was my trip to South Dakota & Yellowstone.

If you’re looking for vacation spots, definitely consider going. It’s totally worth it!

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