We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Black Hills of South Dakota. They are covered with Ponderosa Pines. At certain times, the lighting is such that the trees look black. Thus, the name. We've been here for three weeks and have visited most all of the touristy things in the area. We have come to the conclusion that that SD is one of America's best kept secrets.
Not that THIS is a secret...
Well, actually, that did surprise me. I had heard of the Badlands, but I didn't really know what it was.
Then there's Needles Highway, full of granite outcroppings and spires.
Along Needles Hwy, is an 8'4" wide tunnel you have to drive through.
Highway 16A is a gorgeous drive, and also has several tunnels you drive through. The interesting thing about those tunnels? As you drive through, you see Mount Rushmore.
You just don't know where they'll turn up. Drive around a winding corner, and there they are.
Sylvan Lake is a pretty little man-made lake.
Sylvan Lake is the trailhead for Harney Peak. We had planned on hiking to the top of HP because you can see five states from up there! At the trailhead, there was a sign saying that the hike would take 4-5 hours rountrip. Although we hiked the Volksmarch, a 10K walk to Crazy Horse, I knew we were unprepared to make this trek.
Whatever the property is in granite that is shiny, it's everywhere. On the faces of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and even the ground looks like it's covered in fairy dust.
We've had several pretty good thunderstorms while we've been here, but fortunately have been on the sidelines of any real damage.
Throughout the Black Hills there are piles of pines that have been cut down due to a beetle infestation. From what I overheard, it's not the beetles eating the trees that's killing them, it's the chemicals in the slime that they leave. Huge sections of forest are dying. It's very sad, not to mention a terrible fire hazard. But there are still gorgeous views everywhere.