South Dakota…

DAY 1

First stop in South Dakota was Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  It was completed in 1941, and is 60 foot high with carved faces in granite of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  What a work of art!  Simply amazing!

My souvenir was a book signed by Don “Nick” Clifford, a former driller and winchman who worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938-1940.

DSC_1430 On to Custer State Park with more buffalo!

DSC_0001Our favorite was the wild begging burros!  Yes we fed them carrots!

Then to beautiful Sylvan Lake!

DAY 2

The town of Deadwood is known for its gold rush history and figures like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Spearfish Canyon has a beautiful lodge and several short hikes to fabulous waterfalls.

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Spearfish Canyon Lodge

DAY 3

Unfortunately it was a rainy, misty day to visit The Badlands National Park, but the views were still stunning!  The Lakota people named it “mako sica” meaning land bad.  We stopped to have lunch and decided to take a hike into the foothills even though it was raining.  After watching several people quickly coming back to the parking area, stomping their feet in great dismay, we discovered that the clay soil stuck to their boots like cement!  Pays to be observant!

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A little town known as “Wall” is famous now for a large tourist place called “Wall Drug”.

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DAY 4

Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 and was the first set aside to protect a cave.  In the first picture the ranger held a ribbon that was sucked into the cave.  It was a demonstration of how a cave breathes air in and out, just like our lungs do.  The last picture is an example of boxwork, 95% of the world’s discovered boxwork formations are found in Wind Cave.  It is also known for its popcorn and frostwork.  It is currently the sixth-longest cave in the world with many unexplored passageways.  The tour took a little over an hour descending 300 steps to 215 feet below ground level.

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Another little western town “Hot Springs”.

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DAY 5

The corn palace is located in Mitchell, SD and is a multi-purpose arena.  It is decorated with more than 325,000 ears of corn sliced in half and nailed to the murals.  Local farmers plant 10-12 different colors of corn.  Each year there is a different theme.

South Dakota is a beautiful state! We wish we could have witnessed the beauty of all the Sunflowers at a earlier time of year. These are almost ready to harvest.

IMG_7918On to work at the Beet Harvest!

Two Days and Counting…

It’s funny how you can live in a place for several months or years and at the last minute there are places you want to see before you leave!  Our last two days in Yellowstone were some of the most exciting!  When we arrived in May we were able to view the lower falls at Artist Point but the brink of the lower falls and upper falls trails were closed due to snow.  We decided to take the short hike to some spectacular views of the upper falls and lower falls.

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Upper Falls

We have driven through Yellowstone National Park countless times, most often our focus was on the wildlife.  The Mud Volcano and Dragons Mouth Spring were definitely something we didn’t want to miss!

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Mud Volcano

Finally, late afternoon as usual, we arrived in Lamar Valley, probably our favorite place to view wildlife in the park, and this evening was no exception.  Before to long we spotting a crowd gathering on a hilltop, so we grabbed our spotting scope and joined the crowd.  Off in the distance was a grizzly feeding on a carcass that the wolves had brought down.  There were at least seven wolves on the scene awaiting their turn on the carcass.  We watched them patiently waiting close to the bear, while others were playing and nipping at each other, and off in the distance was one wolf that seemed to be on guard overlooking the scene.  Finally the grizzly sauntered off with a full belly and the wolves took their turn feeding on the carcass.  Very interesting to watch this pack, a wolf had his share of the food, then went to relieve the lookout for their turn on the carcass.  As the sun set, we watched them one by one, head to the same area and disappear into the woods.

We were also on the lookout for friends Phil and Sue, that we met while workamping at Cypress Trail RV Resort in Fort Myers, FL and surprisingly they found us on top of the hill and joined us in this exciting evening.

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One of the things on our bucket list was to hear the wolves howl in Yellowstone and before they all left for the woods, they howled to each other!  It was time for us to find a spot just outside the Northeast entrance to sleep in the truck for the night so we could be in Lamar Valley early in the morning to hopefully watch the wolves for one last time.

Also on our bucket list was to see a bull elk bugle!  Mammoth Hot Springs is known for the elk gathering in the center of town, especially during the rutting season.  When we arrived we saw a small bull elk guarding his little harem.  It wasn’t long before the big guy showed up trying to keep his harem in line and that is when we heard that beautiful bugle!

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Smaller Bull Elk
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The Big Guy
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Big Guy & His Harem
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Undine Falls

It was a magnificent final two days in Yellowstone National Park!

We also were blessed to have Bill and Linda stay at Yellowstone Holiday Resort our last week at the park.  Good friends and good food were enjoyed at our favorite pizza place Wild West Pizzeria in West Yellowstone.

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We will miss the beauty and splendor of Hebgen Lake and the wonderful people we met while working at Yellowstone Holiday Resort.