The Grand Tetons were majestic, of course! I wished that I was able to hike what appeared to be some amazing trails but it was much too hot to leave Lillie waiting in the Jeep. It didn't take long to see all I was able to see (without hiking) throughout the park and we soon found ourselves in Jacksonhole, WY. We had a nice lunch at the Merry Piglets Mexican Grill and moved on.
|Set up in a yard next to Jackie's place|
The following day, a nice drive from Virginia City brought me to Boysen State Park. After setting up, I took off my hiking boots, donned my flip flops and took Lillie for a walk. Checking out the list of wildlife that I might need to look out for, I was thrilled to see that I wouldn't need my bear spray!! After a while, the need for fuel for my campfire had me wandering around picking up small twigs. Suddenly, I found myself leaping through the air with a screech as I saw my foot about to land on a prairie rattlesnake!! The snake was curled up for a good nap, apparently, and simply watched me as I took pictures of it and just looked at it in awe! Cardio done for the day!! Whew! I kept Lillie well away from it and ended up enjoying the rest of my night with a Chicago couple drinking wine and watching the super moon rise above the mountain. I left Wyoming early the next morning but not before checking the snake's prior location. He was thankfully gone.
The last thing I randomly did in Wyoming was to veer off to see Devil's Tower. There was a trail around the tower that turned out to be much longer than I'd anticipated. While Lillie waited in the Jeep under a tree, I raced around Devil's Tower taking pictures. It's quite a site to see, as I'm sure I was! LOL
Deadwood was an excellent jumping off point in any direction for South Dakota vistas, history, adventure, and monuments! I completely recommend the Black Hills area for family vacations! I can't even begin to complete the list of family activities and destinations available here!! It varied from zip-lining, drive through safari, cavern exploration, hiking, off roading, horseback riding, water sports, wine and brew tasting, trout fishing, off-road adventure, theme parks, and other distinct activities. Highway 385 and 16 lead me wherever I needed to go.
Mount Rushmore was an incredible sight to see. Getting closer and closer to our presidential giants carved out of a mountain was an experience that I can't properly relate. Thinking of the men who worked on this project, hanging by cables and working with primitive tools (by today's standards), is beyond comprehension. After witnessing this amazing feat of human determination, driving just 17 more miles down the road takes you to another. In an effort to show that the American Indians had great men too, the mountain sculpting of the Crazy Horse Memorial began. Once finished, it will be the world's largest mountain carving! The finished product will be amazing but in which lifetime it will be finished is anyone's guess.
I was thrilled to see that bison roam freely in the Black Hills of South Dakota as well as the Badlands, which was my next stop. By the way, don't miss driving Iron Mountain Road (Hwy 16A) not only for the scenery but also for the wildlife (bison, big horn sheep, and antelope). Be sure to head there from Custer State Park for a surprise view. There was plenty of wildlife to be found in the Badlands, as well. Including the very amusing prairie dogs. In Badlands National Park, you can just imagine seeing American Indians hunting. The landscape seems unforgiving but it truly is not. A must see for anyone going to South Dakota.
|If you look closely, you'll see Jeep|
|John, the tower guard|
|An old mining entrance|
|A rest stop view in Wyoming|
|Jackie and I in Virginia City|
|Big Horn Sheep|