Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vacation Report: Part 2

I'm not trying to brag, but we did do tons of cool stuff yesterday.

National Parks: We busted it to the Badlands National Park at 7:15am to beat the god-forsaken heat. This was smart, and we were able to enjoy many scenic vistas, as well as an exciting hike on the Notch Trail. You've gotta scramble up a ladder on that path and then remind your children fifty times not to fall off steep drop-offs. In the Visitor Center, we watched a film about these rock formations, built by lava and then constant erosion, and the wildlife that lives among them. I was fascinated by the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret and relieved to know that the park no longer supports large predators like grizzly bears.

Driving: We took a scenic highway to Custer State Park and noted the vastly different terrain in South Dakota as compared to our homeland. We listened with rapt attention to Jurassic Park. Something funny is that since lots of dinosaur bones have been discovered here in South Dakota (but not in the Badlands because it used to be covered with a shallow, warm sea), there are random dinosaur statues hanging out along the roads. We saw one of a brontosaur just as the ill-fated Land Cruisers left the control station in our novel. 

Water Sports and Trail Running: I'm not even kidding - we're only halfway through the day! Luckily, I think these quick sentences suffice: Mac and I rented paddleboards and Dan, Shef, and I all ran on some unpaved trails in shifts. It's much cooler in Custer than in Wall.

State Parks: On our way to Keystone and Mount Rushmore, we drove the famed Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, where we're staying. We saw these species: deer, Tatanka, pronghorn antelope, burro, and rabbit. We didn't see any dinosaurs, but I kept imagining we would because of our book.

National Monuments: Phew, this is the last thing. We went to Mount Rushmore National Monument, hiked the Presidential Trail, checked out a video about the carving, and watched the Night Lighting Ceremony. I cried a little bit when they invited the members of the armed services, past and present, to be recognized on stage and to retire the colors for the night. The only downside here is that Shef found himself to be terrified of the giant sculpture. I mean, I understand. The heads are a little creepy. With coaching, he talked himself down and made it through the whole experience. I warned him that Crazy Horse may be worse. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

MQW said...

What a wonderful trip! Love your listening to that book......perfect!