This was an early-summer trip, as you can tell by how green the hills are. We visited Wind Cave National Park, the adjoining Custer State Park, and Jewel Cave, before continuing on to Badlands National Park (and a stop at Carhenge). I'll hit those last two in another post, lest this get too long. My camera back in those days--my first digital camera--was sure a far cry from what I have now, and I apologize that the photos aren't what they should be.
We joined with friends so that we could have a fun social time in camp and on hikes over the grasslands. At Wind Cave, there was a lot of rolling country, where we saw some nice wildflowers.
|Hiking near the WCNP campground.|
We also saw some nice wildlife:
|Buffalo. Well, actually Bison. They look very, very big when you are standing on a trail and they are not far off!|
Not all the wildlife makes it through the winter. Our boys were really into the bones we found lying about. Parents: squelch your squeamishness and let your little scientists explore this sort of thing!
|I'm not sure it's bison, but probably--it was something big!|
|The natural opening to Wind Cave|
|This "boxwork" formation is apparently unique to Wind Cave.|
We continued our driving-and-hiking tour through Custer State Park.
|From a lookout tower in Custer State Park|
|Tiger Lily, if my memory serves|
We did a hike up a formation called "Little Devil's Tower," though it is a far cry from the original. It was a fun scramble for the boys.
|View from the top of Little Devil's Tower|
|Helping water flow downhill|
Finally, on to Jewel Cave, which doesn't have a beautiful prairie around it, but does have beautiful formations inside. My photography wasn't up to the job, but here are a couple of hints. We were bemused by how many of the features and formations had food names: cave popcorn, cave bacon, the Wedding Cake...I'm thinking cavers are usually hungry!
|Amazing what stone and water can produce.|
That's my snapshot view of the Black Hills--an area with a lot of history as well as a lot of beauty. Check it out!
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2015