Thursday, June 28, 2012
Blazing a New Trail
Today we blazed a new trail and checked off another state on our list. Travelling through uncharted territory is always an adventure. We now have traversed all four corners of Wyoming. Although we have to admit that the northwest area is our favorite, as the Black Hills rose up from the seemingly endless prarie we were impressed with the new topography. The rolling hills are blanketed with a mossy green grass and adorned with large smooth pyrite spotted boulders that shimmer in the sunlight. I had no idea what South Dakota would look like, but our first impression was really great. All of the towns looked pristine and lovely with the Black Hills National Forest as their backdrop.
We didnt really know what to expect from Mount Rushmore, but the entire area blew our minds! There is so much to do and see. One day was only a sneak peek at future road trips to come. From Rapid City, South Dakota we headed south toward the National Monument only to learn that the area has so much more to offer than the 4 Presidential heads. All along the highway there is a plethora of things to do. From Reptile Museums, to Old West Towns, to Chuck Wagon Dinners to large water parks, there are enough activities to make everyone happy.
Mount Rushmore National Monument itself was incredible. It is so worth the trip, and we will be back for sure. The drive through the winding hills gave us a brief glimpse of the profile, which didnt do it justice. So if you go, you have to go in! It cost only $11 to park at the Monument, which is the only fee to get into the park. Everything was very new, clean and organized. It was busy, but not so crowded that we couldnt get a family photo without crowds and we got a great parking spot. We hiked along the Presidential Trail to get some closer views of the monument and check out a Native American Indian interpretive area to learn about how the plains indians once lived.
After some mint chocolate chip ice cream in the shadow of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln we hit the road again to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Again blazing a new trail along a desolate highway. For nearly 200 miles there was barely a town, but the boundless horizon kept our attention and before we knew it the interstate appeared before us. Once on I-25 we started to see the smoke that had followed us yesterday, but this time we saw the source. It was a few miles off the highway just north of Cheyenne. A smokey haze covers most of the state, and we will encounter the same tomorrow in Colorado. The Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs will hopefully be more under control tomorrow. The winds have died down a lot, which is helping firefighters get control of the blaze. We were planning to hike in the Garden of the Gods tomorrow, but since it is closed due to the wildfire we will just head to Amarillo and get in an early night at the hotel. Perhaps on the way we will find turtle or if the wind takes us, hike one of the volcanos in New Mexico. All I know is we are heading SOUTH.