My family is known for jam packing our days to fit in as many activities into a day as possible, and I wouldn’t want it any other day. But this means I am reflecting upon some experiences three days later, oops… Anyways, during our stay in Walls, South Dakota, we stayed at frontier cabins where we slept in our own adorable little cabin. Complete with electricity, shower/bathroom, and two beds (and heat for chilly evenings). We had such a good time in this area of the country. We woke up early after a full day of travel (talked about in a previous post) and had breakfast at the cabins continental breakfast. Then, we headed to the famous WAlls Pharmacy. I honestly don’t even know how to explain it. I’ll start off by saying we passed like 10000 signs on I-90. The store is apparently famous for its free ice water and 5 cent coffee. The store is massive, filled with souvenirs, a cafe, grocery, rock shops, camping supplies, literally everything. There even was a section of animals and art. It’s something that you have to see to believe. After an hour meandering around the store, we took a photo next to the iconic 80 foot dinosaur that is chillin next to the highway. It is a random town in the middle on no where, but it’s super fun to experience. Next we drove through Badlands, stopping at scenic lookouts and I probably took 10000 photos. It was so so beautiful. I’m writing this about 6 days late so I’m blanking on the specifics, but I know that we went to the visitors center and then headed towards Mt. Rushmore through the Black Hills. This drive alone is worth the trip. The mountains were absolutely gorgeous with venerable massive trees. The road curves and swerved up and down mountains alongside creeks. I was so proud of my little car for making it!
Mount Rushmore was incredible. To imagine sculptors scaling the mountainside chiseling away is beyond me. In front of the mountain was all of the state flags as well a classic visitors center, gift shop, and restaurants. Mom got a delicious raspberry frozen yogurt! We did the boardwalk/hike to get unique angles of the presidents, it reminded me a lot of the top of Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Very similar evergreen ecosystem. Another picture perfect day with a bright blue sky and whispy beautiful clouds.
After Mount Rushmore we headed to Wind Cave National Park, about two hours South. The drive was “interesting” to say the least. We drove through Custer State Park, which had more winding roads and steep grades. We made it after a few wrong turns. Wind Cave was the first national park devoted to a cave. It is also the 6th longest cave system in the world. It is famous for its abundance of box work, a unique calcite formation, 95% of all the box work on earth is found here. We did a guided tour of the cave, which brought us over 200 feet under ground. It was unlike any cave I’ve ever been in before. This cave was pretty drive, and had a myriad of different kind of rock formations, each unique but extremely beautiful.
By the time our 1.5 hour tour was over it was approaching 6:00 PM. We made it back onto the main highway (after a long stretch of gravel roads and shortcuts). We drove until around 9:00 and we stopped in Gillette, Wyoming for dinner and sleep. We are at Applebee’s where we met a very informative waitress. She taught us all about the coal industry and the effects that Obamas clean power plan had on the economy of the town. We stayed the night in a cute hotel we Pricelined, and I fell asleep super fast after such a long, fun filled day.