This summer I traveled to the Black Hills in South Dakota with my mom. To me the Black Hills meant relaxation, fun, and new sights! We drove three very long days from Cedar Crest, New Mexico. The first night, we stayed in a KOA in Laramie, Wyoming. The next morning we headed to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. It was tall and clawed with grooves on all sides, like when you peel off string cheese. The formation was not a non-active volcano, as I thought, but layers of magma that built up over the years. It’s not completely uncovered either. As the softer stone wears away with erosion, more of Devil’s Tower is revealed. We didn’t linger too long because of the heat.
We continued to drive until we reached Hulett, Wyoming, where we stayed in the Hulett Motel. There we saw a doe with triplets! The following day found us in Custer State Park, South Dakota. We were to stay in Bluebell Campground for five days in a small cabin.
The first day at Custer, we went on a scenic drive on the Wildlife Loop, spotting many deer and antelope. Our cameras flashed every five seconds and we put them down momentarily as we headed to Bear Country USA. The poor cameras never got another break. We resumed picture-taking enthusiastically as soon as we saw the elk with the massive racks lounging in the grass. Wolves lazed in the road. A caged mountain lion eyed us disinterestedly, a bear resting in front of its chain-link fence. We saw some mountain goats, but they were hardly worth looking at compared to the bears. When we reach their territory, our cameras worked overtime.
Shaggy cinnamon lumps scratched idly at itches on their necks, and fuzzy black shadows wandered through the grass. It was a bear safari. We drove to the baby enclosure, where a grassy fenced area showed scurrying little blobs, constantly launching themselves at each other. As we approached, the blobs defined themselves as fuzzy bear cubs. They tussled with each other, only to be distracted by the golf cart that came to feed them. Then they all stood on their hind legs, their little necks craning upward, eyes glued to the treats. And you guessed it; our cameras were snapping pictures a mile a minute.
After finally managing to tear our eyes away, we fell into the tourist trap of Keystone. We shopped till we dropped. But the main attraction was still yet to see. The big heads carved in the rock. That’s right, Mt. Rushmore. Naturally we took pictures and explored the history of Mt Rushmore a little bit. I learned that originally they weren’t going to put Teddy up there, and they made a booboo on Jefferson’s face, so they had to blow him off the mountain and move the whole thing over.
The rest of the week consisted of a boring non scenic train ride from Hill City to Keystone, a tour of Wind Cave, a trip to the hot rugged Badlands (which I wouldn’t return to), scenic drives, and much ogling at the hundreds of buffalo in Custer State Park. Not to mention, the wild burros, that would shove their cute obnoxious noses into your car window if you had food. They weren’t considered wildlife, because they had been turned loose by people going up to the fire tower, and therefore it was acceptable to stuff their furry faces. I had so much fun, and I hope other people enjoy the Black Hills as much as I did!
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