We are on the other side of the loop towards home. Today was our last day of major sight seeing. We won't be home for another week, but the back end of this trip will be much slower paced.
Here's a crazy thing: We (Alicia, actually) were driving around in the Black Hills this morning and we stopped at an overlook. Imagine my surprise when I turned around and there was George. I guess I didn't realize where we were.
Next up...we wanted to see buffalo. We did not go into the cave (because, as I have mentioned, we have been in many caves and they all kind of look the same after awhile). I wanted to take the Needles Highway, but was told we'd have a better chance of seeing buffalo if we took an alternate route. There has been so much picking and choosing on this trip. You just can't see everything. It's not possible.
Such a complicated plant...
Just when we were getting weary we'd never see an buffalo... We first saw a single cow from afar and then this pair and then a large herd from afar next to a wallow. Mission complete.
Hot Springs, SD
This is one of the prettiest towns I have ever been in. Alicia and I were marveling over the sandstone architecture. We would have stayed there longer, but Jac is not into that sort of thing. He put up with a little driving around and constant stopping for pictures, but then it was time to move on. I need to go back.
Mammoth Site, Hot Springs, SD
If you are ever in the area, you have to visit this place. It is so interesting from a science perspective. Basically, over a very long period of time, a sink hole developed in the shale and eventually collapsed and filled with water. Over more time, mammoths fell in, drowned and sank to the bottom. They have found 61 mammoths in there so far. The state of their preservation is amazing. We were able to talk to the scientists who were very informative. They also have some really great education programs available to teachers everywhere. I was looking at them last year, but will have more teaching freedom next year. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to incorporate some of this in one of my classes next year.
The look of disappointment when I refused to buy this hat. I might have promised I'd make him one.
Finally. New state for Jac...Alicia has been here before.
There is a reason I have never seen Chimney Rock even though I've been out west a million times. It is in the middle of freakin' nowhere. For real. There is nothing around this for miles and miles. For perspective, after we left Hot Springs, I don't think we went through more than 3 towns between there and this. It's about a 3 hour drive. I'm glad we saw it. I told them "Look at it well. It is not likely you will ever be in this neck of the woods again in your lifetimes." This is one of those things people have to be intentional about seeing. After seeing it, we drove 100 miles through nothing but fields and whatnot to get to a town.
Some of them are a must stop. How could we not take a little drive on the Oregon Trail?
This last picture is the marker for the halfway point to Zion on the Mormon Trail. I'm not Mormon, but that religion has always fascinated me. Specifically the fact they were able to talk so many people into walking across the United States pushing handcarts. I just can't wrap my mind around that.