Tag Archives: #HifromSD

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Five

I don’t know that you can take a trip to South Dakota without stopping through Custer State Park. What a beautiful part of the State!

After our pontoon ride on Thursday we were only an hour or so away from Custer so we headed down that way. Our first stop was the Needles Highway.

Custer State Park 3

HUGE rock formations and narrow driving paths make this a fun adventure. Unless you are a over sized motor home who has come to a narrow, one-way tunnel and you have a line of traffic behind you and you can’t go forward, and you can’t turn around. It was a bad day for that family!! (I wish I had taken a picture – they had to close that section of the Needles Highway for a time!)

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There were several spots to get out and climb (this mama’s worst nightmare as my kids scaled up the sides of the rocks)

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Karlena would have loved to do this on her own!! I on the other hand thought Dominic had to go with her!

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The we decided to head to the Custer Wildlife Loop in hopes to see some Bison.

It was HOT and sunny and I think all of the animals were hiding in caves somewhere….thus no wildlife, and no pictures…

Oh wait we saw a smooshed snake in the middle of the road. I didn’t take a picture 😉

On our way back home we were heading through Custer (the town) and saw Scott’s Rock Shop. It was a find after a disappointing bison search. We were probably there over an hour and we spent WAAAAY too much money on rocks and treasures but the kids loved it and if I am honest the adults did too!!

If you head to South Dakota, Custer State Park is a MUST stop!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Four

In the middle of the week we took a morning and Dominic, Isaac and I went into Rapid City and had a tour of a potential college choice, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. It was a small campus, but we got a nice tour and if Isaac decides to pursue Engineering it will likely be a top contender. So crazy that we are having to makes these kinds of decisions already!

One thing I would say about vacations is to schedule in a down day. For almost every day we were in the Hills we were going, going, going. By Friday Gabriel asked if we could not drive somewhere and just stay home. So next year we are going to try and do that.

On Thursday morning we did something pretty fun, we rented a 22ft pontoon boat at Lake Sheridan. Gabriel really wanted to do some fishing, and my parents had done this with us last year when we were out there and it was a lot of fun, so we thought it would be fun again!

Lake Sheridan

We didn’t think of the idea until Tuesday so finding a place that had boats large enough for our group was difficult. The only boat we could find during a 3-day period was Thursday from 8am-1pm. It seemed early in the morning and I was worried it would be cold, but the day ended up being perfect!

Karlena fishing

Karlena caught the first of 4 fish. It was the cutest thing ever! Once it got in the boat she wanted to look at it but didn’t want to touch it! 🙂

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I even caught a fish, we got 4 rainbow trout. It was awesome. Elijah posed with the one I caught!  I felt bad because Gabriel didn’t catch anything that day but it was still a blast.  The boat had a fish finder on it so the kids would watch that and then yell that a “big one” was coming!

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It was perfect weather, got a little warm even. But we had snacks and juice pouches etc. with us so it was a wonderful time on the water…even wore Karlena out completly!

Lake Sheridan

If we ever go back out there we will definitely do this again. It was only $165 for the 5 hours, the pontoon was plenty big for our group and the lake was beautiful! Fishing in a pontoon is so much easier than a small fishing boat because the kids had plenty of room to walk around and it didn’t sway the boat any.

We even did some swimming, well the bigger kids did. But the water was ice cold so they stuck really close to the boat. Karlena even wanted to go in so Isaac helped her a little, but once her legs got in that cold water she was over it! 🙂

Have you ever rented a boat like this? What was your favorite part?!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Three

For those of you sticking along with all the vacation posts, thanks! 🙂 I know it can get boring to read about someone else’s vacation…but I wanted to post these so that I don’t forget everything we did. I didn’t do this last year, I did 1 big post I think and there were so many things I wished I had written down. So this is all about me! 😉

The only tough thing about vacationing with a large group is deciding what we should do each day! We had a range of ages between adults and kids and so tried to find things that we could do that worked for everyone.

We decided to check out Wonderland Cave on Tuesday.

Wonderland Cave

There are several caves in South Dakota that you can explore. This cave was about 30 minutes from our rental home and had the least amount of steps…so we thought it was the best bet for everyone.

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Gabriel and Elijah waiting for our tour to begin.

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Karlena loved this covered wagon…it would have been even better with real horses. She wants to ride a horse SO bad!

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After a short hike down a trail we came to the entrance of the cave. Our tour guide Kyle was quite a character…he made the tour interesting to say the least! 🙂

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Wonderland Cave 6

Caves are pretty cool. Have you ever been in one? The only downfall was the steps were pretty steep and because of all the rain they had had the week before we came the steps were wet. A little scary at times, especially with the little ones!

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They called those formations bacon! 🙂

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The tour was about 45 minutes long and the kids loved it (well all except our niece Ari…she just turned 2 and wanted to walk on her own, but because of the slippery steps she couldn’t so she was upset about that! 🙁  But I think all in all it was a fun experience for everyone.

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A random picture of Isaac that he actually let me take of him! 🙂 Have to have something for his senior graduation party!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Two

The first full day we spent in South Dakota was a little cold and windy. We decided to take a drive out to Spearfish Canyon. I wasn’t a smart mama and didn’t pack a jacket for anyone…it was sunny and warm when we left the house and after we drove for awhile, the weather got much cooler! Lesson learned – always pack a sweatshirt/jacket even if it seems we won’t need one!

Road Selfie

My only South Dakota Selfie! 🙂

Spearfish Canyon is really beautiful. You drive through and there are so many beautiful things to look at and these little pull-off areas where you can park, hike and explore.  Even though it was colder, because we were down in the canyon it wasn’t windy like it had been in Deadwood when we had driven through there earlier that morning.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon

When we planned to be out for the full day we would pack lunches and bring them with us. Saves money and time, and we could eat whenever we wanted to without having to find a restaurant for 16 people!

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The kids loved being able to explore for “treasures”…searching for cool rocks with different colors kept them busy for a long time!

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Karlena Rock Hunter

Throughout the canyon there are a couple of different waterfalls to stop and take pictures of.

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall

We had lunch by this one!

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Elijah was REALLY excited about seeing this waterfall!

Elijah Waterfall Celebration

He was running around and celebrating, it was hillarious!

Isaac

Isaac enjoyed the climbing the most. Any place we stopped he looked for places to climb. Once again this mama’s heart skipped many a beat watching him scale the rocks!

We had a fun day in Spearfish Canyon – have you ever been there? Dominic and I were there in late October one year and hoped to see the colors changing, but we were about a week late and  it snowed that weekend so all the leaves were falling! 🙂

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part One

Our family was blessed to be able to spend over a week away from home, vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I wanted to post while we were there, but I have read that one needs to be careful about blogging about a vacation during a vacation for security reasons…so I kept it quiet until we got back.

Karlena kept calling it our “bacation”…and the name stuck!

It is a LOT of work getting ready for vacation isn’t it? I was stressed before we left, but when we hit the road on Saturday afternoon we were all excited to go. It is fun to see the changes in scenery and one of the first things we noticed were fields and fields full of this yellow plant.

Fields of "moo-stard"

I asked Dominic what it was and he said it was “moo-stard” plants. Later in the week we were told it was sweet clover (boo)…fields of moo-stard (the Grey Poupon type) is a much more fun thought!

We decided to drive only 1/2 way the first day. Our kids don’t love being in the car for long drives…and staying in a hotel with a pool is a rare treat…so we did that. On Sunday morning we got up early and drove through the Badlands. Karlena wanted to go through the “Goodlands” instead….she was afraid of the Badlands.

Until she got there and we got out so the kids could climb around.

Climbing in the Badlands

Karlena has AMAZING skills when it comes to scaling rocks with no help. I had near heart attacks multiple times that week. She has NO fear! Dominic said it is as though she can look at the rocks and visualize the path she needs to take and she does that. I would have felt better if she were wearing a harness!

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Gabriel climbing as well!

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The only picture Dominic and I took together and I don’t think we got a single family picture…although I took over 100 pictures every day!

We went on to Wall Drug, which was crowded and overpriced…but it was fun to walk through for an hour or so. Riding the horse was the most fun Karlena had! She is obsessed with riding a horse! 🙂

Wall Drug

We rented a home near Nemo, SD. Dominic’s parents, his brothers and their families joined us as well. The house was in a remote, yet great location for us to travel throughout the Hills every day. We saw a deer each night around 7pm and on our final morning there we had a flock of wild turkeys. (Neither of which I was able to get pictures of!)

Black Hills

When I hiked out from the back of our house I came to a clearing and this was my view. It was beautiful. I got some great videos of the wind and the grass and trees…I have a post idea just for that and will hopefully share soon!

God’s majesty was just so evident here. I know that it is all around us, but here, in a place with little cell service and no distractions…I just was more aware than ever of how amazing this planet of ours is!

I have lots more to share with you….but want to break this up for my families sake…so we can remember everything. So be back with more soon! 🙂

Where have you vacationed recently? I am looking for ideas for next summer already! 🙂

 

 

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