Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Secret of South Dakota

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...
Or this...
or this.
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.
So what is the "secret" of South Dakota?
It is just breathtaking!


  1. Wow, I didn't realize it was so gorgeous~

  2. Pam, I only wish my photos did it justice. Really, this place is a wonderland in spring. I say in spring, because I don't know about the rest of the year, but this is spectacular! :)

  3. South Dakota does have its surprises,doesn't it!?
    Aren't the Badlands just amazing?
    Your photos were awesome.

  4. Even I've heard of the Badlands but I had absolutely no idea that they looked so awesome. I really enjoyed that post. It lends so much more to a place to see it through the eyes of someone you know rather than through the anonymity of, for example, a television programme. Thank you.

  5. That is a lovely area. Growing up my family camped and I've been to Mount Rushmore and all through that area. You might be near some Laura Ingalls Wilder museums. Enjoy your trip ~

  6. Mr. Puffy, I saw a billboard about the Laura Ingalls museum, but we were headed out. I, certainly, would have checked that out. Loved the show, but also loved the idea of that life. However, I would have been whining, I'm sure, to actually live it! Ha! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I have never visited South Dakota but had not associated it with landscapes like you show. They are very fine, almost other worldly. Thanks for opening my eyes.