After 768 miles of travel I finally reached South Dakota. There certainly is a stark change in scenery between Wyoming and South Dakota, and the Black Hills make that immediately apparent. The sudden change from high plateaus of barren soil to full landscapes of pine trees has made the trip worthwhile. The smell of the trees was immediate, and refreshing.
I stopped at Jewels Cave for a scenic tour, but found out that I needed to go a couple of miles further up the road to purchase a ticket, and then return - I decided to bypass the cave and continued deeper into the hills. I stopped at one of the many camp grounds to reserve myself a spot for the evening, pitched my tent, and then headed out for a scenic tour.
My first stop was the Crazy Horse Monument. It is a marvel how the stone slowly metamorphosis from a mountain without feature to a distinguishable face. The size of the monument exceeds the size of the four faces of Mt. Rushmore, and will be a work in progress for many years to come. Needless to say, I won't be alive to see completion.
Moving on I took a stroll along Needles Highway which is a slow drive that winds through the pines. It leads to many a scenic views and vistas that draws you into to take a closer look. I stopped at Sylvan Lake which has memories that takes me back nearly 40 years. As a Boy Scout, Sylvan Lake was one of several camping locations as we made our way on a 50 mile hike through the hills.
The following day I stopped at Mt. Rushmore before continuing my trek to Watertown. When I arrived at the visitors center I immediately thought about the movie North by Northwest - those who know the movie will understand my interest in the cafeteria. The facility has had a dramatic face lift (so to speak) over the years, which has been a great improvement.
I moved on to Burke SD and arrived at 6:00 pm for a nights rest. Had dinner at a local restaurant (the only one in town) and headed to my humble abode - Burke Lake Camp Ground. Total miles traveled to date is 1154 miles. I was the only camper that night, which made for a very quite nights rest. A good rest is what I need for the final leg before arriving in Watertown. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dave (W4PBU) in Tampa FL on 20 meters for nearly a half hour - he was intrigued with my trip. Looking forward to moving on in the morning.
Chow!! I forgot to add a picture of Mt. Rushmore and I got some flack about it - rightfully so. I have others but this one seemed to be the best.