I was recently queried as to my absence. So in full disclosure, I will tell you where I have been. First, you must know that I do not vacation like most people. I can only take so much sand between my toes and so many fruity drinks with little umbrellas before I get a little bit twitchy. I don't sit still very well and new and foreign places fascinate me. I like to explore and photograph every new thing I see. I recently had the opportunity to take a 6 day vacation to South Dakota. First off, I will admit to being slightly geographically challenged, but I had no idea that South Dakota was so close. I really figured it to be the other side of the moon. Maybe, after my children moved in so many distant directions (Alaska and Missouri) it all became relative. As I am experiencing a fair amount of stress concerning my mom's terminal cancer diagnosis my husband thought it would be wise for me to get away and "relax". This is how I relaxed in South Dakota.
First we explored Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. It's an indoor excavation site featuring the fossils of 58 Columbian and Woolly Mammoths. (Who knew there were more than one kind of mammoth? Those of you that know me well, know that when my son asked me to tell him the name of dinosaurs I used "Ralph" and "Henry" instead of tyrannasaurus rex and trycerotops. Hey, it worked until he could read.)
We of course visited Mount Rushmore. It proved to be a challenge of night photography to be discussed later. Sadly, I was a little disappointed as I was expecting the "National Treasure" version. There is no lake behind their heads and no city of gold either.
This is Sylvan lake in Custer State Park, a few miles away.
This is the Mountain Goat that was visiting the Mount Rushmore profile turn out at the same time we did. He was just two empty car lanes away from the parking lot.
We visited Cosmos, mystery area where gravity seemed "askew". And we checked out "Bear Country" which was a wild experience of the safe kind. All bears were viewed from behind the safety of our closed car windows but they were close enough to touch.
And if you are going to get up close and personal with bears, you have to check out the cold blooded critters too. We visited Reptile Gardens where according to their own literature you see more species of reptiles and amphibians than any other zoo or park in the world. It was 12 year old boy heaven. My favorite place was the safari room within the sky dome. It was wide open with a number of species of amphibians, lizards and tropical plants just out in the open.
Prairie Dogs are plentiful and it's fun to see the babies out and about.