“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Waited all summer for our family vacation, and it’s finally here!
Driving across South Dakota one thought occurred to me: I wonder if people even know what a beautiful state this is? Here I am, a Minnesotan and nearby neighbor, and I’d never even set foot in South Dakota until now. The topography changes so much as you cross the state, from flat cornfields to grasslands,
to the amazing rocky canyons of the Badlands
and into the green and heavily forested coniferous hills where you see Mount Rushmore
And yesterday we drove the Needles highway in the Custer State Park where we saw some amazing rock formations and drove roads as windy and narrow as any… Think Road to Hana or Vail Pass. Many super narrow single lane tunnels and hairpin turns!
And even below, there is cool stuff to see. Yesterday we took a tour of Jewel Cave, the second longest cave in the world, after Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Our six-year-old researched geodes for her science fair project and has some interest in rocks, so we thought she’d like the cave. Turns out the 1 hour 20 minute Scenic Tour might’ve been a bit long for young kids, but they did great and I definitely think if you come to this region you ought to see Jewel Cave.
So far, I think the natural beauty and wildlife that we’re seeing on this trip is more of a draw than the man-made monuments. Don’t even get me started about waking up to a giant herd of buffalo grazing outside our cabin…awesome! So awesome, that it is actually worth having to stay in a cabin. 😉