Tuesday, September 16, 2014

happy trails

Deadwood, SD

 Dinosaur Park, Rapid City

outtakes at Wall

Yippee Ki-Yay!!!

the fun is over, back to work

Carrie and Daniel's west trip, last day: Dinosaur Park, Deadwood. 

And as we heard playing earlier in the week at Wall Drug:

Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!

Monday, September 15, 2014

gettin' high

the backside of Mount Rushmore

Harney Peak trailhead - 7 miles roundtrip

Carrie and Daniel's visit - day 3! Hiked to the top of Harney Peak - the highest peak east of the Rockies at 7242'. Been there done that, got the selfie and the t-shirt!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

great faces

Carrie and Daniel's visit - day 2! Custer State Park. The day started out hiking in the snow on Sunday Gulch trail. Then traveling on the Needles Highway through tunnels and around S-curves. Down to the prairie side of the park where we met some of the park residents, buffalo and burros. Mount Rushmore right before dusk, then into Custer city so Daniel could try a buffalo steak. A full day sightseeing in the Black Hills!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

go west!

Carrie and Daniel answered the call to Go West! First day trek to the Badlands National Park with the obligatory stopover at Wall Drugs.

They were impressed with the Big Sky and wide open spaces. The treeless hills and miles of grasslands are so different from north Georgia. Daniel wants to move here :)

Wildlife spotted: Big horn sheep, prairie dogs, rabbit.

Badlands National Park, 242,756 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. ~Wikipedia

Does it look vaguely familiar, like maybe from a movie? Movies filmed here: Armageddon, Dances with Wolves, How the West was Won.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Record breaking weather here in Rapid City!  The earliest snowfall ever today - September 11, 2014 - breaking the previous record on September 13, 1970.

Not much here in Rapid City, but it looks like the 'higher elevations' got quite a bit!

Crazy Horse webcam

Just another day here in South Dakota. Snow?!  Our neighbor here at the campground (also from Georgia) went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon and said it was business as usual, said if it was back home the store would be full of crazy shoppers stocking up, the shelves would be empty. 

The weatherman cautioned that the morning commute might be a little slick for workers and school buses - what? Once again, back home the schools would have closed yesterday in anticipation of the storm.

Meanwhile, here at the campground, not much going on. I kept waiting to get a good snow picture but this is as good as it gets!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

local news

South Dakota farmers are harvesting wheat but cannot get it to market. The wheat is overflowing the grain elevators, pouring onto the ground. The rail lines are backlogged because of the overwhelming oil production in neighboring North Dakota.

A young mountain lion was killed in downtown Keystone, since it was spotted killing a raccoon in a populated area, the decision was made to put it down.

SNOW!! - What? It is only September 10th! Scheduled to start overnight and snow into Thursday, expected accumulations in the higher elevations 4-6 inches, maybe 1 inch here in the city.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Custer Peak

the fire tower

the view

the trail

the outhouse

the wildflowers

the fake tree/cell tower

Custer Peak, elevation 6804' named for General George Armstrong Custer who explored this area in 1874. Stone fire tower circa 1937-1938. National Historic Register. Possibly built by CCC - but only found one online reference to that. Custer Peak Road 5 mile gravel road to the top, pretty rough, 4WD. 

Just a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive through the Black Hills turns into an adventure. Look there is a stone fire tower on that mountain over there. A quick map check confirms it to be Custer Peak. Look, Custer Peak Road. Turn at the fake tree/cell tower, signs says 5 miles to Custer Peak. Pass by Mystic Hills Hideaway campground and off-road rentals. The wide gravel road gets narrower and steeper the farther we go. The gravel turns into boulders. The 4WD is activated. Passed some hikers along the way - "you're almost there!" Parked at the last wide spot and walked the rest of the way. Awesome views all around!

Monday, September 8, 2014

a walk in the park

I love the walking trails in this city! I walked from our campground to Sioux Park to see the William Nordermeer formal gardens. The paved walking/biking path followed alongside Rapid Creek the whole way (well except by the golf course where the path follows the street side walk - no trespassing!). The flowers are wonderful, the giant sundial, the dinosaur on the hill looking down on the park. The walk was about 6 miles round trip, a great way to spend a sunny Saturday!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

horse thief lake

Driving through the scenic Black Hills area there is a surprise around every curve.

About 2 miles from Mount Rushmore, Horse Thief Lake is the closest lake to the monument, which make some people think it is the lake seen in the movie National Treasure 2, but no, that is nearby Sylvan Lake, 5 miles away.