I had no idea what to expect from South Dakota, but the state really surprised me!
(Sorry SouthDakotaCJ, I should have known how good it would be from your IG!)
I left my friends in Louisville CO, which is a fine town in Boulder, BTW!
Nice big park, big time dog-friendly! Great neighborhoods!
This blog should probably be called 'West South Dakota’, because, I only really stopped in the western part of the state, and just drove straight through the east.
Mount Rushmore is set in the Black Hills National Park.
I arrived at Mount Rushmore kinda late, but got there just in time to set up my tripod and see sun down and the ceremonial pre-show they put on before the nightly lighting of the Monument.
The scene is pretty epic!
First, a Black Hills National Park Ranger starts the show with a warm welcoming speech.
After the initial welcoming speech, they played a ~35 min video tribute to the 4 men featured on the famous monument:
The cinematic video was well done!
A great history refresher featuring stories about each man. The show is loaded with tons o pomp and circumstance, good ole Americana values and and just the right touch of cheesiness!
And then…they lit the monument!
I felt this incredible sense of pride for my country when I visited this monument. So much that I felt I needed to invest in a souvenir t-shirt:
Ok time to go.
Here is the scene looking back from the main entrance.
Driving out of Mount Rushmore, we had some tough traffic, but it gave me a chance to snap this side view of George Washington.
Nice posed profile pic Georgie! Sign him up for an Instagram!
The next day, I headed west toward Badlands National Park!
I basically just took an afternoon to drive the Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240), which takes a couple hours and features plenty of scenic vistas, and stopping points.
I had no idea what to expect about the Badlands but I was big time impressed! Super cool rock features, super unique coloring on the mountainous terrain and just overall weird! (In a wicked awesome way)
Get after the view player, I got your back! 100 Insta Likes right there.
Boy vs Goat Standoff!
The vast landscape is quite nice all over the park!
A fellow park visitor asked me to take a snap of him, and I agreed to send it to him.
I sent it through email, but I don’t think he ever responded.
It’s cool, I ain’t mad at ya, Badlands Guy.
The Park was cast in a decent amount of clouds that day creating some sweet mood.
Glad I had my wide lens for some if these vast long shots!
Would be a blast to do some longer hiking around here!
“Hey guys, come here check out this view!”
The coloring in these hills is so unique and cool!
If you look close, you’ll see a bunch of lounging mule deer, maybe? Maybe pronghorns!?
Hmmm, looks like it’s about to rain…
Then, it cleared up.
Watch out for rattlesnakes!
I really only drove through the Badlands National Park for a few hours, but it was a total blast!
Every National Park has its own style, aesthetic and flavor.
A goal of mine is to visit ALL the US National Parks someday.