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!
Coco, Bobby, Nola & Vanito!