AT#706 - South Dakota National Parks
Bags back on the road and read. It's real fast. Board amateur traveler pursued seven hundred six today d amateur traveler talks about caves and badlands and Bison missiles and the Missouri and presidents as we go to the National Parks of South Dakota welcome the amateur traveler. I'm your host Chris Christensen. Let's talk about South Dakota. I'd like to welcome back to the show Gary Art from everything. Dash EVERYWHERE DOT com. Who's come to talk to us? Surprise surprise about national parks. This time about the National Parks of South Dakota Gary. Welcome back to the show. It has been so long. Yeah and we never get to talk so it's always a pleasure. It has been a very short period of time since I talked to carry but we have talked about doing this show since we ran into each other. Probably at Mount Rushmore last October September September. I think yeah. Maybe it's October. But yeah we're going to t backs and and this was totally unplanned. You just happen to be a remote rushmore exact same time. It's one of those odd coincidences that happen. And it doesn't happen to meet all that often but there are some national parks in South Dakota. That are not Mount Rushmore. So where are we going if we go to the National Parks of South Dakota? They're six national park. Service sites in South Dakota and five of them are in the West located in or near the Black Hills. And then there's one all by its lonesome in the east so we might as well talk about that one. I and that is the Missouri River National Recreation area. It lies on the Missouri River as you might guess given the name it is in the charming little town of yanked him. South Dakota believe it or not. I was actually rather curious to visit yanked and because I had read a list several years ago that had the cheapest place to live in America was yanked in South Dakota so it was kind of curious to see I was kind of curious. What kind of community is this? And it's very nice and it's not rundown or anything now it's cheap. It just happens to be in the middle of nowhere and that's why the site is right on the border with Missouri arm starting Nebraska and it's fifty nine mile stretch of the Missouri River. Very nice some very large bluffs that are overlooking the river and a national recreation area. So it's not a park if you go to the visitor center and look to get your National Park Stamp. It is not a visitor center per se. It is the office. So that's where the maintenance vehicles and the office staff and they're all there and in that building there's a very small lobby and they just sort of stick the stamp out there for people that want it but unlike pretty much every other national parks that you go to. There's no movie there's no displays none of that. It's very straightforward. It's just something that you can visit. There's a bridge which goes from South Dakota to Nebraska that crosses the river and that's probably some of the best views you're going to get of the river if you WANNA take some photos. There's a place you can pull out just before the bridge. You can't really stop on the bridge nor can you really walk across the bridge. So that's kind of difficult so you just have to keep those things in mind. It's far enough east for. I think you could easily do day-trip if you happen to be in Sioux falls or if you're driving across the state I mean if you wanted to dip down interstate ninety s the interstate. The kind of runs across South Dakota East West. You could do that if you're a serious national parks. Yeah other than that. There's not a lot there. Well I should say for the listeners. The show who are either not from the US or possibly geographically challenged the Missouri River may not stick out in your mind but Missouri River is the longest river in North America. If you include the merchant into the Mississippi River in Saint Louis even if you don't include the Mississippi part I believe North think it's the Missouri Mississippi Slash Missouri. So if you took if you went from New Orleans and then just kind of banked left at Saint Louis rather than right that would take you further. 'cause THE MISSISSIPPI goes up into northern Minnesota whereas the Missouri goes much further will the I? I'm looking it up in the Missouri River just until it gets to the mouth Where it enters into the Mississippi is well for our European listers who I was mentioning this forest. Thirty seven hundred thirty seven sixty seven kilometers or two thousand three hundred forty one miles. So there's really quite an amazing amount of the length of this river not to mention the fact that it empties into the Mississippi River. The river at this point and yanked is pretty good sized. It's not a rapid river. Anything like that. It's far too big for it if anything else. It kind of gives you an appreciation for the river. Think if you go up to North Dakota there are some sites that are close to the as well and you with Lewis and Clark and these the Missouri kind of as their highway to get to the West speaking of the river. I in South Dakota many times live in Minnesota and I think South Dakota is kind of. There's two half's to the state the east and the West in the dividing line is the Missouri River it kind of goes along Nebraska and then it hooks up in when you're on interstate ninety that goes East West when you cross the river. The geography changes pretty dramatically so on the eastern side of the river. It's really flat. Is Your stereotypical great plains. Corn for miles. Once you cross it then you start to see hills instantly like instantly instantly. And that's a function of the river the meandering of the river in the flood plain and everything has basically scour out everything to the east of it and literally. When you cross the bridge you start to see some hills and that's not the black hills yet but it's kind of building up to that. I think you're still well over one hundred miles away at that point and all of the rest of the parks are in this. Western part of the state in the western part of the state is by far the most interesting. It gets the most tourists. You've heard of pretty much anything. In South Dakota it is to the west of the Missouri River in that Black Hills area. So we're talking deadwood Mount Rushmore while drug everything except the Mitchell Corn Palace. Okay and I have not been to the Mitchell Corn Palace. It's probably worth a mention. If you're on the interstate you can turn off in the city of Mitchell. South Dakota and it is a dance hall. It's been around. I WANNA say since the nineteen thirties. The exterior of the building is covered in corn and every year they put up new mosaics of corn cobs on the building and that's their thing and today. I think it's just a museum and I think they actually have moved there like the city hall offices inside. But Laurence Welk got his start at the corn palace. I did not know that and I grew up in a house where Lawrence. Welk was on every Saturday night whether I wanted it on or not from South Dakota got his start as a bandleader was at the corn palace. Nothing to do with national parks but just a little bit of Nether. Bit of South Dakota Trivia. Its nickname is the sunshine state. Yup We have to. There are two states that the exact same nickname South Dakota in Florida. I think Florida probably earns it a little bit more but I suspect that South Dakota appreciates the sunshine a lot more though so anyways let's go west across it and they're two sites before you get to. The Black Hills are both in the park service and by the way the Corn Palace was built in eighteen ninety two. That's way earlier that I is. I was surprised. I think it's claim to fame. I think though is like as a dancehall during that period of time and like from the pre war period World War Two. So we're across the river now not quite to the Black Hills. Were kind of outside the city of Wall South Dakota which is famous for wall drug which is the world's largest drugstore and you only reason that's famous is because they don't do it as much anymore but I remember when I was a kid. We did a trip out there. And I want to say nineteen seventy eight seventy nine and they have signs for wall drug everywhere in every direction in every road and they've started putting them around the world there was one in Amsterdam hundreds and hundreds of miles. Before you even got close. They would say have you. Doug Wall drug and it's states cheesy tourist attraction that gets a lot of tourists. You're GONNA drive through. You might as well go there. I had breakfast there the day I was leaving. And they had actually have an international program where they bring in kids from all over the world and they have like a dormitory and they work at wall drug so let us stuff going on. But so the newest park service site is the minute man missile national historic site and so this is a former titan. Missile Silo Minute Man Missile Silo. You're right and when we signed the treaty with the Russians at the time not the Soviets to dismantle a lot of these silos they specifically put a clause that allowed them to preserve a very small number of these As a museum and I think the Russians also preserve the same right so there were literally Russian observers who came over to the US and they observed the dismantling of all these silos but then they kept a couple of days so this site has three different parts. They are all located off the interstate there couple miles from each other. So you're going to want to do it by car but it's really worth visiting. I was going to visit the site several years ago when I drove through. Because it's right outside of where Badlands National Park is at the time the visitor center consisted of nothing but a trailer and there was very little. Now there's a proper visitor center very nice museum there about the Cold War. Did you get there? I got to that part. But that's the sad part is that there are three parts as you said and the other to take more planning and we did not do the planning properly well one of them definitely does the other two parts are the the Delta One tour and this is in a very unscripted looks like a house like a ranch style house in the middle of nowhere except underneath it is a bunker. And so if you've ever seen the movies where the air force guys are manning the nuclear missiles and each have a key after turn at the same time. That's exactly what this was and the guy who did the two or four US was a former missile guy who actually worked at this site and he's a park ranger now and you get to take the LV. It's not that far underground actually in. It's basically A. I would call a very large septic tank that is designed for people to live in and they would have several days in a row. I would think they would spend down there. And then they would get time off above with bunks dormitories up above with dining hall up above. I want to say that that one site would manage like two dozen different silos located area all connected to this this place by some sort of cable to get a tour of this place requires advanced planning because I think they can only take six to eight people down there at once just given the size of it. When I had my tour scheduled I screwed up the time zones because it's western zone. I screwed it up so I I had to drive very fast very fast and I made it just in time. There's a parking lot like across the road. It's not hard to find. It's pretty well located on the maps in with signs. But I had to kind of run to the gates in the end the fence surrounding the facility and everything else is still intact. They've pretty much left it. This was decommissioned in the early nineties. So it's not that old and they've left all the furniture and everything inside. They have period magazines from nineteen eighty one thousand nine hundred seventy s and stuff that are in there and it. It's really interesting. It's one of those things that I'm kind of glad they chose to preserve it because it's the only National Park Service site I can think of. That has anything to do with the Cold War. I am not coming up with any other one. So you've got me at least for now so if you're going to visit this highly recommend you do it. Make sure to plan your visit into reserve a place on your tour. Several weeks beforehand. At least and maybe even longer than that because they do fill up quickly because the tour groups are so small and that's really the limiting factor. It's the highlight of the entire park experience. So if you're going to go all that way I would definitely do that. And you can easily tied into a trip to badlands national park or yeah the basically the visitor center of that and a visitor centre badlands. National Park are ten miles apart by apart. I mean they're very close. Your Visitor Center you have. Delta a one site which is that and then he delta nine site which is the actual an actual silo and That you don't need a registration for the do ranger tours was there. I believe it was on Saturdays that they did it. So you'll want to check the schedule. I think that might be seasonal in the summer. They probably do more tours. But you don't have to have a tour. They have like an audio tour. You can do through cell phone at the site where you can just call up a number and or an APP that just kind of get audio tour things and you can look down the silo again. There's not a lot to see because it's basically just this concrete silo thing in the middle of nowhere and they don't let you fire a missile or anything like that now. It's a glass top now. That wasn't the case. Hold War but you can see how it would flip up and these things could be launched within minutes quite literally very very quickly. Which was the idea of the Minuteman? Missile I mean harkening back to the minute men and who are ready in a minute. Back in the revolutionary war. Yeah the problem we ran into is we didn't do the Delta One tour booking ahead of time just because we weren't planning actually to go out there We didn't realize how close it was. And then when we decided we were going to go out to badlands and and visitors center we just hadn't done it far enough advanced and the problem. The missile site is when we were there in September. It close to three o'clock and by the time we'd seen badlands and had lunch at wall drug. It was too late so again. Just make your plans. Accordingly and by the way from Minuteman missile visitor center to Badlands. National Park is three point. Eight miles so I was. I was even more optimistic or pessimistic than I thought it was so next we should probably talk about badlands. Yeah consider there I think. Badlands is really the premier quote Unquote National Park the National Park title. I think it's the kind of the premier site in South Dakota. I think others would argue for Mount Rushmore but I I think you're right more. Mount Rushmore is better known to ensure no yes but I would say if you're going to just one place in South Dakota it would be badlands. I would agree with you yeah. It's it's quite stunning. The interesting thing about the park is that a lot of the so. It's a bad land. Roughly speaking so there's badlands and North Dakota there's badlands in South Dakota Badlands in Alberta. And it's basically this part of the state that's kind of cut out of the prairie and it's it's highly eroded so you can see exposed strategy very brightly colored layers and a lot of those layers actually come from yellowstone national park when they had the various volcanic eruptions in yellowstone. A lot of it ended up settling in this area. And that's actually what you can see we. Would we ask the Park Rangers? They told us that a lot of the volcanic ash and the gray ash there. Which is the Ben Tonight? I want to say but you're the one with the geology degree vase that it was from Great Basin National Park in Nevada I thought it was from yellowstone and they corrected me so I'll give you that for what it's worth. I don't think baseball in volcanic. I don't know it's a whole different structure. I don't think there's volcanos there. Yeah because I actually. We've stopped there on a geology field trip back when I was studying geology at the University of Minnesota and yellowstone was what we were told in yellowstone makes the most sense also what I expected the answer to be so. Maybe it's just something that he used to punk. The travel bloggers who come. Yeah I I'M GONNA go with yellowstone unless someone listening to this want to chime in something different because I don't think great basin is volcanic. I don't recall that being the case at all the whole great basin area was formed in a completely different way. That's either here nor there. No it's in Nevada right. Yeah the whole park and pretty much it I would say it's mainly one road that will take you through the park from one entrance to the other and within that there's lots of places you can stop lots of places you can hike. There is another kind of lesser developed. Road that can take you off of that but it's not nearly as popular and it's a really beautiful and kind of different part of the state and it's one of the few parks and we're going to talk about one of the other ones later that actually preserves prairie land the sexiest part of the park. Is what I mentioned. It's the kind of eroded hills where you can see the different colors. The oranges the reds and yellows in the rock the different layers. But then there's also a big chunk of the park once you've Kinda turn the other way and you'll see it's it's Pearland and we don't have a lot of national parks in the US that preserve prairie oddly enough and that's the case in Canada's while in this is one of the few and the prairie isn't really even the highlight of it so that's that's one of the reasons. I'm very pro prairie as we don't have we don't have a lot of it left and it used to be probably the. The singular big geographic feature in the United States of the Great Plains was this enormous of grass. We've pretty much plowed under all of it. So having some places that our original prairie where you can see I want. I think there's pronghorns actually in this part of the state in addition to mule deer and other things. I'm trying to think if there was a prairie dog colony in badlands. I want to say there is. I don't remember seeing any but it sure looks like there should be. Yeah it's definitely in that area but yeah badlands is great and again you're GonNa Probably WanNA rapid city is sort of the largest city in western South Dakota. It's located between the area with badlands and minute man missile and the Black Hills. So if you're looking for a base that you can work out of rapid city would work. There's hotels wall where you can stay there. All pretty cheap or black hills itself you could actually drive to badlands easily on a day trip from the Black Hills as well. It's pretty close. It's an hour or something like that. I want to say it might actually be a little bit depending on where you are in the Black Hills. Right it is it can be challenging to drive around the Black Hills because they're hills oddly enough. Yeah so if you're kind of further in the north like spearfish or something and may take a little longer or like deadwood but either way it's still do obliged. Let's go now to the obvious one. Which is not Rushmore National Memorial? I really don't know what to say about it. Because it's it's Mount Rushmore. Therefore faces carved into rock. You've all seen the photo you go there. You look at it in a lot of the narrative the visitor center and everything else is really around the building of Mount Rushmore. The story about what's his name Borland. Who is the builder? Did it the process? I want to say the last guy who helped build Mount Rushmore. Just died like a week or two ago he was there signing books the day that you and I were there. And he was one of the people who was up with jackhammers helping carpet and sense we were there in September and now we're according in April he died. You're correct so yeah. A members of our group talked to him and chatted with him about the experience. Now what it was built supposedly. The plan was actually to create a building or a room or a vault of some sort behind. The heads of the president's in the intent was to actually move part of the National Archive to Mount Rushmore. Or at least that was his plan. I don't think he had the government on board with this so supposedly behind. I WANNA say like Washington's head. There actually is the beginnings of a hallway that Kinda go to an empty room If you've ever been to Petra when you go into the Treasury. There's just nothing there. It's just an empty room is not as deep as it was in the movie. Yeah same as this. I would actually like to go there sometime. I from what I've told you actually can get to the top of the mountain and get behind it and I'm sure you've seen like the joke t shirts that have pictures of the side of Mount Rushmore. And it's guys with their heads indeed. Talk About Mount Rushmore. We might as well talk about one other site. That's in the area but is not a national park for you. Go there some things that I learned from. This was my first trip to Mount Rushmore this year and I did not realize that the original intention was to carve the torsos of the president says well and you can see if you look at it that Washington has his coat. Lapels carved out of the Rock. The other presidents don't but basically the whole thing was over budget and much later than planned and so they did not finish that they decided at some point it is it is done. This is done. It's going to be and there's never going to be another president carved on it just in case you are wondering the other thing that I did not know. Is that Lincoln? They had to blow him off the mountain because there was a problem when they went to carve him the first time and he was on the other side of Washington and it went dramatically wrong. Think a crack developed is what am I. Understanding is and they had to dynamite off what they had carved away and start him again in the spot that he is now which both of those were news to me. Yeah I definitely seen the original model of what it was supposed to look like where Washington it would have basically had him down to his waist with his hands actually one of his arms and I think Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Kind of recessed a little bit more. They wouldn't have had as much but Lincoln. The original plan was to have one of his arms like almost up to his chin like he stroking his beard. A little bit would have been kind of cool if they did it and while we are at a break. I'm looking at the National Park website in it says that the volcanic ash badlands comes from eruptions in the great basin. Not Great Basin National Park as I said but from the great basin and there are lava beds in the great basin. But not in. I don't believe not in the National Park Area. So it makes sense at least are sticking to their story you started to say. There is another large statue in South Dakota. That is not a national park site. There is and that is the crazy horse statue or I don't even know if you'd call a statue because it's a whole mountain that is still being worked on to this day. It was started back in. I want to say the nineteen forties I think and it basically a local tribe. They wanted to have their own mound sculpture to remind people that they have their heroes to. They picked chief crazy horse. Who has actually killed in a fort in Nebraska? He turned himself into surrender. And then like one of the guys in the Ford Killed Him. There were no photos ever taken of crazy horse but when the process started there were still people alive that had met crazy horse and they were brought in and they had sketch artist. Draw a sketch of crazy horse. Based on these people's recollection of him. So that's Kinda why it looks how it does. We'll there's some controversy whether there's new photos taken of him if you go to the custer trading post just outside custer national park in Montana and you ask they will show you a tin type that is reputed to be crazy horse and they will tell you the whole history of how this may or may not be crazy horse. The different controversy involved but it's reasonably believable. The story that I've heard I've read that as well. That's not what they're going to tell you at the crazy from is correct the faces done and I think they basically had to prioritize. Like what were they gonNA put their efforts into so they did kind of the face? I which kind of makes sense so you can at least see that. There's something there and it's not just a Blob of rock. His outstretched arm is mostly done or at least the top of it and what they're focusing on now is removing the rock to start doing the. He's going to be astride a horse. So the head of the Horse is where the top of his outstretched arm will be. And this will end up being significantly larger than Mount Rushmore Arias. And you say he's going to be on top. Of course I get the impression that is but not in my lifetime. It might be so when I was there. I actually got to meet the person that had a PR. Who is the daughter of the guy? Who was the sculpture in? His kids are doing it today when I should add the reason why this is still being sculpted. Today is because they have a foundation and they have a visitor center and a gift shop a restaurant and everything else and that is pretty much. What is funding this to keep it going right whereas if it's a park service site. I don't think they could do that only can do this. Because it's private there are tours you can take so there's one that's like a bus tour and get into bus at the visitor center and they will basically take you to the base of the mountain and you kind of just loop around you get out and you can take some pictures from the other side and that's the other thing whereas Mount Rushmore is is designed only to be viewed from one direction. This is going to be a three sixty sculpture and there's also a poem that will be sculpted into had so they're going to sculpture the looks like a like a scroll and that'll be kind of so if you're looking at the normal where he's facing to the right. It will be to his left that I think is going to the last thing that they do string. Lots will probably be the easiest part of the sculpture as well but it will be designed to be viewed from three hundred sixty degrees. So it's not just something you would view from the visitor center. I believe there is two times a year where you can actually go up it and like stand near the head and there's one time of year. I was like a week away from visiting where they actually have pyrotechnics and stuff where they light up. Marches and whatnot on the The statue itself. So I think that was in September. I thank you obviously. WanNa check the website. They have a light show. A laser light show where they actually eliminate the full body and the Horse's head so what it will look like on the actual sculpture the way it is today so if you're there at night there is something to see but yeah. I don't think it's ever going to be a national park service site. They've created a an institute a Summer Institute for Native Americans to come and learn and they can apprentice and work at the site. So there's a lot of things going on beyond the sculpture itself. There's a museum there They will usually have need if American dancing and other cultural events going on on most days. Oh and September sixth. That'll be the date for twenty twenty When we're recording this and it's the night where they kind of light up sculpture and we should prepare you that that one's going to be a little more expensive than visiting Mount Rushmore. Yes I'm trying to think. Did Mount Rushmore. Even cost anything beyond parking. You had to pay for parking. Yeah was ten dollars for parking or something like that and you can't use your national park pass for the parking correct and I think that's why they do it that way you can enter for free quote unquote but you end up paying for parking. The crazy horse is. I don't know for whatever reason we have to. Well I suppose three includes Stone Mountain in Georgia but there's only a couple massive mountainside sculptures in the United States very few in the world and the to just happen to be a couple of miles from each other so we got two more left and they're very similar before we get to those actually. There's a minor stadium. If there's a reason why those two are so close to each other is. The whole Black Hills was sacred site for the native Americans who live there and there was a a great intention to keep out settlers and there were trees that would keep settlers out of the region. And so win. Mount Rushmore was carved. There was some backlash from the native American community. That at least if you're going to carve something in these sacred mountains which you shouldn't do it should be a native American. I think that's what started the project. Yeah there's been some controversy about the crazy horse sculpture but yeah it. It originally was a native American idea. And they're the ones that started and you can hear the story of it and once you're there they have a theater that is you expected visitor center. Shows that kind of stuff right so the next two sites are both caves and one is wind cave national park and the other is jewel cave national monument? Now there are geologists who believe that they are all part of one cave system they have yet to prove it but they keep finding new corridors in new caves and they're close enough together where they think that at some point in some small way hook up but that hasn't been proven yet so start with wind cave when cave is actually one of the oldest national parks in the US. That yet is a lot of people. Don't realize that Lake Mary. It was discovered by accident That's where the name comes from. There were some ranchers who found this very windy noisy whole coming out of the ground and they went and explored it with some Robeson and ladders and candles and it kept going and going and eventually became a tourist attraction and then eventually it became a national monument and National Park. And the thing that it's probably best known for and so there's different cave sites in the national park system. There's there's wind and jewel cave. There's obviously mammoth cave. In Kentucky Carlsbad Cavern Oregon Caves in Oregon and Grace National Park also has a significant cave system as well on the Lehman Caves. The caves are very different. It's easy to say. They're like limestone eroded away which is true. Mammoth Cave for example really does not have a lot of very interesting stalactites and stalagmites features inside different. It's pretty bare and there's not a lot to. It's an enormous cave system. I think it's it's well the debates about that what you call it because you can do it by volume yes it by a singular chamber which I think the largest now is in Vietnam right but it. It's up there. It's a big one. There's a thing called a box work lattice. I believe that's the name of it inside wind cave and it's something that as far as I know is not really found anywhere else and basically they look like the square mail slots like you snail into in a building. Except they're on the roof and a lot of the early visitors to the park would chip off parts of the stuff and so there it. It's very delicate. There's not a lot there but that is really kind of the unique feature of the cave system. There's different tours. You can take depending on the time of day the length of the tour. How far can you go? How difficult and strenuous. It is for the most part. There's a common tour that you can of take one of my trips there. I actually hired. I had to pay goes one hundred dollars a media fee so I could bring in a tripod because you cannot bring a tripod into wind cave in in for good reason. I don't think they want people sitting up tripods and people tripping over them so I was basically by myself for an hour with arranger which was kind of a neat experience. I should add the exception of that. Carlsbad cavern in Mexico. You can bring tripods my favorite gave in the point system. The hidden part of wind cave that does not get as much. Attention is the surface right. And there's a part of me that thinks they should really rename this park to black hills national park because it would give the surface a bit more attention. You Have Bison you have that rolling hilly prairie plus the forest area it's a real unique ecosystem and it also abuts custer state park which has a very large bison herd they'll do bison roundups with. It's actually really need. If you're able to catch that and I think customer is actually one of the better state parks in the United States. I would go as far as you said that. Badlands was your favorite National Park in the state and I and I agreed with that I would say custer state park is my favorite park the state. There's a good argument for that. I think it would be great if they were to merge custer and wind cave into one park they do border each other and it's easy to dry from from one to the other and create one very large park in like I said rename at Black Hills National Park. I think it would make for a really great park and even then I think the the primary draw wouldn't be the cave gigs very cool but there. There's so much more on the surface so don't just go to the visitor's center get your stamp. Do a cave tour take some time. Drive around. There is definitely prayed colony. It Wind Cave National Park. Absolutely you. Yeah we did. We did the hike on the Cold Brook Canyon trail and walked through Apprai- Colony. And then we also did the hike up to the forest fire lookout station up in the northern part of the park. And I don't remember the name of that. Trail is but both those great hike Spaghetti. I one we definitely hike right through productivity. I know there's one small dirt road that's off the main road that goes through the park where you can pullover and I. I spent the better part of our just photographing prairie dogs. Which is one of my favorite things to do especially with a really good lens as with all caves in the park system they are going to be concerned about White Nose Syndrome right which I think is a fungus that can kill bats. So if you've been in any other caves or anything like that. Make sure to not wear the clothes that were in that cave. They'll have some stuff for to sanitize the bottom of your shoes before you go in. Just be aware of that and other than that. It's a I think one of the highlights of the Black Hills I would. It's one of those things where when you're in Paris the Eiffel Tower when you're in the black hills you go to mount rushmore. But that doesn't mean it's the best thing there I really think wind cave national park along with custer State Park really is the highlight of the Black Hills will and you mentioned how close wind cave jewel cave are to to each other for thirty one miles apart so you're really wanted to visit them on the same day but you are going to have that issue of the the. The white knows that center on. I don't remember the name would that you will have some problems if you do. Try and visit them in the same day. You know. I want to go to the website and see how they deal with that. It may just be wearing a different pair of shoes. Yeah I think what else in I should also add. There is one massive point of failure for all these caves and it is the elevator so when I was there in September of two thousand nine hundred the elevator in both of the sites was not working and wasn't going to be working for months. Yeah so I A. We're recording this in April twenty twenty. Well I don't know if they're fixed because it doesn't matter at this point everything's closed but I want to say either fixed at this point in if they're not. This is an excellent time for the park to be shut down for for them to fix it I I. I went to their website before the interview to check to see to get an update and there was nothing about the elevators. Not Working so I think they're fixed. Yes I supposed to be fixed by spring so that would make sense. Yeah that was the only time I have been to wind cave national park and we skipped jewel cave national park because we couldn't go down and neither one but as you say we did enjoy wind cave national park quite a lot. Even though we didn't go into the cave we did to the ranger walk to the original opening of the cave where the wind comes out of but that was about a yeah and then the last one is jewel cave which actually again is actually been a national monument for quite some time. The cave itself is going to be kind of similar so I bent. My first trip to Joel was in the the trip. I mentioned in the late nineteen seventies with my family and we actually got to go into the cave and the thing that still sticks out to me to this day is the tour we were on the the ranger. We you'd walk up of stairs and as we walked to the top of the stairs the ranger said now. We're at the deepest part of cave that we're going to be on in this tour. The deepest part was at the top of the stairs because it happened to be under a hill. And when you're a kid I thought that was just really interesting. There is stuff at the surface of jewel cave in so I kind of explored a bit more of that than I probably otherwise normally would have on my last trip because the elevator was closed. So there's a brand new ish visitor center by Newish. Shamin probably a couple of decades and typical visitor's center stuff. You can see the movie all the Interpretive Center but then if you go a few miles down the road they have the old visitor center. And this was the original one that was built and the original entrance to the cave. And they do a candlelight tour these tours actually still ongoing. I saw could have done this to our. I just didn't have enough time because it doesn't rely on an elevator. It is literally a log cabin where the ranger for the park. This was I wanNA say pre World War Two World War Two that time. And that's how you enter it. So there's there is no elevator so that was still able to be done and I actually hung out with the group as the ranger gave them the introduction and the explanation of everything before they went down. I didn't have a ticket so you can do that as well. So there's different tours that they offer and that area around the old visitor's center is still there and you can go visit it and you can go inside and check it out. They have arranger that Station there as well. I wanted to make a case here. WanNa go back to custer Park Customer State Park for a second and make my case for this being the best park in South Dakota and I've four arguments for you one is you mentioned it. And that's the Bison If you want to see large herds of Bison this is one of the best places in the US not the only place. An Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota Yellowstone. Where these came from are definitely places you could also but this is definitely one of the places where you can have a bison encountered white by Bison Counter. I mean we ran into a bison traffic jam where we were literally at some point. You decide you need to drive on in your driving slowly in an amidst the bison so a definitely an experience there to would be the needles highway which is one of the most cynic highways in the US Just a little short highway up between custer state park and Mount Rushmore. And you're driving through spires of rock on this really wind e road and it is gorgeous three. What he Sylvan Lake. I would highly recommend A Walk Around Sylvan Lake. It is a very easy hike. It is a very beautiful granite reservoir. I think it is not an is not an actual acre. At least it has been expanded into a reservoir through a damn but it is a beautiful rock facing thing it if you ever saw the movie national treasure two with Nicholas Cage. This was where they find the entrance to the back. Part of Mount Rushmore. While Rushmore about rushmore and the city of Eldorado which isn't really there but this is where they filmed that it's gorgeous gorgeous scenery and the fourth would be that while you're there you ought to go eat at the local restaurant there. The Blue Bell Diner dining room which is inside of the park and Sometimes Park. Dining is okay and sometimes it's really great. This is really great. I recommend getting the Buffalo Stew or the Buffalo brisket a case a D. or something like that is a very good place. We went back there again because we joined it so much. So custer state park a real treat. Yeah I can't argue with you. It's it's a fantastic park and I agree with your assessment of the top places to have a vice inexperienced custer Theodore Roosevelt and yellowstone are probably the top. I think there are some private ranches where you can also see it as well but as far as like a national park sites public land those are the top ones that I can think of off the top of my head I. There are some in Canada but in the US those would be my top three to well the one in Canada that comes to mind off. They still have buffalo there but my favorite name National Park head smashed in Buffalo jump is someplace that you can at least give the history there. Oh if you are interested in the Bison in custody go back and I believe it's in September we just missed it by a weaker to the roundup Where Gary mentioned that they have the cowboys. Come in and they round up all of the Bison and take care of them and see to their medical needs and all those things a one time a year and that is apparently a spectacle. I actually been there by accident during that exploit. I got to see it. An ASS impose as well from it. Some other things to see when you're in the region are the pig tail bridges. I don't know if they're unique to the black hills but they're certainly something you're going to probably see more of their than anywhere else. I Don a solution. It's like a corkscrew bridge. The used to get around the problem of how to get you up and down in elevation in certain places I forget the name of the highway. But it's there's some of these where you can see Mount Rushmore and there are actually places and I have some photos of this on my website where you can frame route mount rushmore in a tunnel. Yes and so. I have several photos of Mount Rushmore. Being seed through the tunnel and it should also going back to mount rushmore. There's a place where you can go to the side of Mount Rushmore and get like a profile view of George Washington And there's a place where you can park and turn out for that and that doesn't cost anything that's just on the highway so one of the places where you can see a bridge is in wind cave but it saying that basically the idea of a pigtailed bridge came from the former self taught superintendent of custer State Park which surprises me and there are three bridges on the Iron Mountain Road in South Dakota and I do not know where the Airmont road is. But it's going to be in this area as well. I want to say that's what I was talking about. I suspect you see Yeah yes yes that is in fact. It's the road that I was talking about by the needles highway. You're right in the same area very cool. Yeah this is a great part of the world In the Black Hills and I think it's it was always a popular. I grew up in the midwest so it was kind of a pre popular destination for people to go on a camping trip. A road trip to go to South Dakota and it's the part everybody goes to and I think it's still the case today there's some elements of it that are pretty touristy and cheesy but not as bad as it used to be when we went there as a kid and when you're talking about touristy cheesy you're talking wall drug and maybe bits of deadwood woods not even that bad. I actually stayed in debt. What is part of my last trip and dead woods like an actual city and obviously there's a lot of history in the downtown area where you can go to the the saloons and the hotels and everything that are quite historic and they still offer. I WANNA say it was one of the first places in the US. Outside of Las Vegas or city that allow gambling right in allow. I think blackjack and poker or something. And this was this was quite a while ago. And it was pretty revolutionary. Thing at the time will if you're there in the summertime there are players who are reenacting scenes of while bill hickok getting murderer door calamity Jane or this sort of things that it can be a fun place especially for families but this is the thing that opened up the black hills to settlers even though it was given to well. You can't give to the native Americans plan that was already there is. It was a by treaty. Supposed to stay a native American land but gold was discovered near deadwood. And that's what brought in the settlers in an inexorable wave that changed the land forever. Yeah gold sort of trump's treaties. Alex history history whether it should or not One could argue but It definitely has in the past and I should add one other site. That's not too far away and you could probably do it on a day. Trip might be a little bit longer trip in devils tower in Wyoming. The Black Hills are not that far from Wyoming. And as you go west a lot of the landscape is very similar to what you're gonNA find in the Black Hills. That's something that's definitely worth a visit if you're in the areas well and it is very conveniently located excellent. Are we ready? Do some wrap up questions Gary. You're the boss driving just the passenger if you were standing at the prettiest spot in all of South Dakota in national park or State Park. I'll give you that where you standing. What are you looking at? I think I might be on one of the towers in on Wind Cave National Park. So I think there's some towers you can climb. Maybe Sylvan Lake. Like you mentioned in Custer State Park that is one of the overlooks in badlands. National Park. I think yeah one of the spots where you can pull up your car and just kind of see the vista right in badlands. National Park. You don't want to be a big fan of trees now. There are no trees but if you like geology for instance the colors of the Rock there that you've got these reds and Greens along with yellows and lots and lots of Tans was very interesting and I should also add if you go to badlands. And it's raining. That's not such a bad thing because when the rocks get wet attends to bring up and color a little bit more I say lots of lots and lots of Tannin. Lots lots of gray the tonight that gray area excellent and one thing that makes you laugh and say only in South Dakota Wall drug. They give out free ice water. Did you know that free for travelers? That was how they got their. Start really alluring. The travelers off the road with their free cold ice water in five cent coffee and I still think they offer that that was the price they did like the thirties and forties do that as kind of a marketing Gimmick we. We ate at while drug sh man. It was. It's okay I had many better meals in in South Dakota including the Bluebell Cafe. In the custer state park but yes you can get your cheap coffee there The other thing only in South Dakota or in the Black Hills. If you'RE GEOLOGY FAN. It is a fantastic place for collecting minerals and finding minerals that. You're really not gonNA find most other places because it's an area of uplift you have a lot of metamorphosed rock that you don't normally find so some of it's not open to the public. I was able to go when I was on a geology trip. There's a lot of road cuts where we saw huge chunks of Mica and Mica back in the early twentieth century used to be used for the windows in ovens. Because you could sort of see inside but it wouldn't melt or anything because it was actually a mineral and so yeah there's places where you can find enormous sheets of this stuff still both Muscovite and by a tight we saw some rolled Garnett's and all sorts and there. There's actually one place where you can see some of the largest crystals in the world. There are these enormous crystals that are the size of like railroad boxcars. I think there's a a place in Mexico. There's a cave that has gypsum crystals. That are bigger than this but it. It's one of the largest. You're gonNA find anywhere that sponging and again. That's on private property. But so you can't see it but they give you an idea of some of the interesting geologic stuff you can find. And you're gonNA find a lot of these gem rock stores over the Black Hills where you can pull in and if there. I would strongly suggest doing that. Even if you don't want to buy anything they'll have the jobs and stuff like that that everyone's looking for but they'll have all kinds of stuff and I remember pulling into one and just talking to the woman that ran it and I probably am. I'm not an expert at her level but I know a little bit more than most people having studied geology and was very interesting talking to her because a lot of the things that like she was interested in or she found interesting. The things that a lot of people aren't necessarily interested visitors that come in and if you had to summarize the National Parks of South Dakota in three words what three words would you use. Washington Jefferson Lincoln. All right excellent. Our guest again has been Gary Art from everything. Dash EVERYWHERE DOT com. I'm hoping you have been watching some of his photos as you listened to this. But if you haven't been certainly go over everything dash everywhere dot com and check them out. Rav Link to your post on the National Parks of South Dakota in the show notes of this episode which everyone can see in the lyrics for one thing is one way to see those Gary. Thanks so much for coming back on amateur traveler thanks again to the patrons of the show who are supporting it and thanks to Chris. Kilworth recent guests on the show talking about Senegal who increased his pledge this week and thanks to the patrons who hung out with be on our monthly zoom. Call last weekend. I find myself looking forward to those. If you're interested in supporting the show go to patriotdepot dot com slash amateur traveler. I had a recent review of the show from Mitzi up. I'm assuming that's upper peninsula. I love this podcast on my flight to Europe. Last summer I listened to the podcasts. For the different countries we were going to. It was so fun and I also listen to them on the way home to see what I saw and compare great podcast. I'm hoping for an episode on the Circle Tour Around Lake Superior. I'm planning to do this in the summer. I also had a review from twenty s struggles. 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