South Dakota : 3 days in the wild wild North

On June 29th, our first stop in South Dakota was Custer State Park. Under a heavy heat, we drove through abundant wildlife and Black Hills landscapes. Custer is one of a kind really and was a great teaser for what we were gonna see throughout the State. We saw pronghorns, bison and tons of birds. But what I enjoyed the most was the needles highway. The scenic highway takes you through tunnels and views over Mount Rushmore as well as rock formations that have no equal in the US. After a delightful afternoon in the area, we set up camp in the Black Hills National Forest for the night.

On our second day in South Dakota, we visited Crazy Horse National Memorial and spent the morning hiking in the Black Hills. The weather was a bit gloomy but we absolutely enjoyed the atmosphere of the forest under light rain. After our 2h hike around a lake, we met with a very sweet guy from Ohio who was now working as a cameraman in LA. Him and his dog spent some time with us and Nola definitely enjoyed her new friend. So did we! He took this great picture of us, we now cherish a lot.

In the afternoon of June 30th, we met with our friends at Mount Rushmore. I thought I might be disappointed by the National Memorial because I had been dreaming of going since my young age. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of size or even in terms of how close we would be able to see it from. I was not disappointed at all. Even if the place was getting ready for President Trump’s speech on July 4th and some of the accesses were blocked, the monument appeared bigger than I expected. It is beautiful and just as impressive as anyone would think. We spent a bit of time there, listening to the rangers telling us stories about Native American history and taking pictures of the hill (and failed selfies).

After that, we went to hike with our friends in the Black Hills again. Just a short sunny walk to catch up on our lives. On the way we saw very typical tourist spots and some more views of Mount Rushmore. Following our little hike, we went for dinner and drinks in Rapid City and slept in town.

After a rough night sleep (we’re not used to sleeping in towns anymore), we headed towards Badlands National Park for a long and breathtaking hike. During 4 miles, we took saddle pass, medicine root and castle trail to loop around the mesas and geological formations. We saw some deer prancing on the meadow and were able to see a myriad of wildflowers. I really enjoyed this hike!

We stopped in Wall, SD for a well-deserved lunch. The town of Wall is very fun to see. It’s a huge complex with animals, restaurants, boutiques and other crazy things.

Our last night in South Dakota consisted of a quiet evening at Belle Fourche Reservoir, where Nola decided to dip her paws in some mud and came back to the van with litteral “mud shoes”. Took us a while to clean her up but we laughed a good bit seeing her trying to walk with so much mud under her paws.

We wish we could also have been towards the east of SD but unfortunately we have to make choices during this trip and we can’t go everywhere. But really, South Dakota was a terrific time. Not only the weather was on our side, but the landscapes were out of a movie and the people were so pleasant.

Talk to you soon, in North Dakota!

Love,

Coco, Bobby, Nola & Vanito!

4 Comments

  1. Looks like beautiful land. Glad you had a good time there.

    I don’t know if I could handle that land energetically. The Native Americans were treated so horrifically there and still are, with the pipelines spilling toxic oil into their water, how horrible the protestors were treated there, the voting laws set up to keep them from voting, on and on.

    The mountains where Mt. Rushmore has its carving was actually Native land, sacred mountains to them, stolen by the US government. Then to give a big F you to the natives, they destroyed it and mutilated it by carving the faces of 4 white men, all either slave owners, or those who had caused great harm to Native Americans. To top it off, it was carved by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

    The Supreme court passed a judgment that the land, and mountains, already mutilated, should be returned to the tribe, but it still hasn’t been done. This country has a lot of genocide and destruction to answer for.

    May all of this be cleared and cleaned at some point with the Native Americans and people of color given restitution for all they’ve suffered, so the land can shine clean and clear like your wonderful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree ! We enjoyed because the ranger was actually quite knowledgeable and especially fair with saying that the US government did things so so wrong. And I was happy to be told the real story.. it helped with visiting the area for sure! And even if it’s a good start, it’s not enough. I absolutely am in agreement with you that this land should be given back. It’s so grand and beautiful and it belongs to Native Americans 🙏🏻❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After the shift things will need to be worked out because so much land around the world was taken from those originally there. But also we all need places to live. But on the new timeline all will honor the earth and work toward the greater good. So glad you are enjoying your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

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