Saturday, June 21, 2008

South Dakota Part 3

Day three started with a hearty camp breakfast. The only time I cook bacon is when we camp. I hate the greasy mess at home, but outside is different. 

Our first adventure of the day was the drive to Hot Springs and the Mammoth Site.

On the way we passed through part of Wind Cave National Park and look what crossed the road! Our only upclose encounter with a bison. A few cars pulled over to check this guy out and he (she??) ignored everything. It just wandered anywhere it wanted. Who's going to argue! *grins*

The Mammoth site was fun and educational. I couldn't get very good photos, but if you visit the Black Hills it is worth the stop.
After spending money in the gift shop on important items such as goo with a plastic mammoth fossil inside, we had a picnic lunch. We really didn't eat out much on the whole trip. On to Jewel Cave.  We stopped first at the visitors center and the gift shop. The kids got the Junior Ranger info and booklet and I bought a really cute kids book. It is called "One Small Square; Cave" It has terrific illustrations and covers caves really well. I looked for it on Amazon and found a bunch in the series. I want them all! Backyard, Arctic Tundra, Swamp etc...

I highly recommend the Jewel Cave Lantern Tour. It was so much fun! No, this isn't your normal cave tour. No amazing formations that glitter in the glow of electric bulbs. This is the only way you can explore the first passages found and enter through the natural entrance. Each tour member over 10 yrs old hold their own oil lantern and no other light! We duck walked under low spots,climbed up and down very steep stairs, all carrying the lantern. The cave is cold and windy, so dress warm. Don't worry if your lantern goes out from a gust of wind, which happened to two of ours, the Ranger has a lighter   ;-)


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