Friday, July 27, 2007

Wind Caves & Custer State Park

Saturday afternoon it was blistering hot and we were wasted after walking around Mt. Rushmore all morning so we decided to cool off at Wind Cave National Park. Wind Cave is the 4th largest cave in the world and a refreshing 52 degrees year round. We purposely picked the longest tour so we could enjoy some natural air conditioning.

A little explanation about this photo. When we were in Badlands, we came across a trio of tourists in their early twenties who were hanging out on the edge of a cliff (with no fence) taking pictures. That wouldn't have been bad except for the fact that they seemed a little drunk and were trying to get pictures in midair of them jumping. The 10 minutes we were at that stop they were yelling 1...2...3...jump. And still going strong when we left. I really hope there weren't any major injuries. Anyway, for the rest of our trip we decided to mock them a bit and we all took pictures jumping at the Wind Caves sign. This was my favorite of me.

This is a picture of the natural entrance to Jewel Cave. When the barometric pressure of the cave is more than outside it pushes cool air through the opening, creating a natural fan. I'd also like to note that right before this picture was taken we were hanging out next to a cliff and out of nowhere this handsome, brawny ranger pulled himself over the cliff and came towards us. It felt a bit like we were in some cheesy romance. We talked to him a bit, but of course nothing came of it. Man oh man he was gorgeous though.

Later that evening we decided to venture into the thriving metropolis of Custer. Population - 1,984. Our trip was due mostly to the fact that it was July 21 and Harry Potter was supposed to be on shelves across the nation. Unfortunately we didn't find Harry Potter, only a grumpy bookstore owner who was probably mad that he owns the only bookstore in America to not have The Deathly Hallows. But we did find this lifelike statue of a buffalo which was almost as good. Please notice that she doesn't seem overly concerned that I'm about to be mauled by a buffalo.

We camped at Custer State Park (lots of beautiful trees!) and the next morning we were driving and found an entire herd of wild burrows. Another car was already stopped and they were being swarmed because (don't tell the rangers!) they were feeding the burrows Cheetos. The best part was that there were quite a few shy baby burrows that let you get pretty close. Adorable!

The last thing we did at Custer was hike up to a place called Devil's Tower (not to be confused with the one in Wyoming). Although the hike was very strenuous (we're talking straight uphills for long stretches) it was worth it. The top had a beautiful 360 degree view of the Black Hills. This picture is of a few rock formations called the Cathedral Spires.

Summation of the trip: Go to Car Henge if you are ever in Nebraska because it's worth driving out of your way. Mt. Rushmore is one of the most inspiring works of art ever made. And if you are going to camp in South Dakota, camp in the Black Hills. They are sooooo beautiful, words can't even describe.


ellesappelle said...

Wow, the Cathedral Spires are beeeeeeaaaauuuutiful.

And guess what? I've never heard of a burrow before (other than the hole-in-the-dirt type one)! Cute!

Stacy said...

Why can't life be more like a romance novel, where handsome rangers stick around and save you from. . . bears or something? Though I suppose lack of bears is a good thing.

I love the picture of you jumping. So fun!

LEstes65 said...

Cheetos?! I'm telling the burro police!!! And did you get that gorgeous ranger's number for me? (I kid)

Virginia, like the state! said...

That picture of you jumping is hysterical!

Such pretty scenery!

Anonymous said...

Hi There! Next time you are in the gorgeous Black Hills make sure you stop in Hot Springs, SD and visit The Wild Burro Bookstore. The owner is not grumpy (that would be me.) and did have Harry Potter Books in Abundance on the release date - we even had a midnight...well midnight + 1 second party... Seriously, Hot Springs is a cool place to visit