Monday August 25……Day 14
For the two nights Oliver was in the hospital we went a few miles down the road. On the first morning we woke up in the Black Hills wilderness to a field of prairie dogs. That’s one of the good (and bad) things about travelling at night, you have no idea where you are or what’s around. While eating breakfast a Bison (buffalo) wandered just feet from our window. Oak shouts, “cow!” as we all turn to see and this majestic beast is just walking right past our house.
It is the 75th anniversary of the park service and tickets to Wind Cave National Park are free, today only!
We enjoyed the two-hour tour through the largest cave system in the world despite descending 300 steps into the dark slippery caves with a baby strapped to my chest and a toddling two-year-old, a ball-of-energy three-year-old, our clumsy five-year-old and scared-of-the-dark six year-year old without any injuries, potty accidents or emergencies.
I never cease to amaze Darryl with MY multitasking skills because I somehow managed to nurse the baby with one arm and guide Oak down the steepest and longest section of stairs without slipping on the puddles myself.
We learned about the most sacred part of the Black Hills to the native american tribe, the Lakota and the first cave explorer along with the cave’s history which was all very fascinating and exciting.
From Wind Cave, we made a preliminary visit to Mount Rushmore, ate dinner and made the trip back to Rapid City to visit Oliver in the hospital, where we stayed the night.
Tuesday August 26…. Day 15
In the morning, we ate breakfast and cleaned house. Oliver was happy to be back with us and we were happy to have him.
On to Mount Rushmore! We were able to use our pass from yesterday and really take our time. Juniper and Lemon got into the Junior Ranger program and learned all about the presidents, the sculptor, how the mountain was shaped, and the history of the Black Hills natives. In fact, we were very happy we came back today because there was a Lakota drum and dance demonstration right on the viewing terrace.
Papa Bear particularly enjoyed the ingenuity that went into the fabrication especially the precision of the blasting the faces with such detail.
Lemon and all the girls had fun pressing a mock plunger and watching an explosion on a monitor. She was busy blowing things up for a while.
We earned our first Junior Ranger badges and the girls were ecstatic. I only wish I’d learned about this program earlier. Badlands and Wind Cave, also national parks, offered the program as well.
As we walked through the Avenue of Flags we sang a fifty states song I learned in fourth grade and found our state flag of Pennsylvania.
Darryl found a gem of a resource on the internet that tells us where we can fill up on water and purge our tanks.
So, we dumped and filled in nearby Keystone, did some laundry (boring job but someone has to do it…me) the machines were $2.50 to wash and $2.50 to dry, the most expensive I’ve seen and I left there after spending over $30.00 on 4 loads with wet clothes. (sad face)
We rode down the highway en route to Wyoming, stopping in a roadside pull off to sleep.