Friday, September 6, 2013

Wind Cave National Park.

I made it to Mount Rushmore before sunrise, and was able to hike the president’s trail close to the mountain.  What a wonderful time of day to see the mountain.  I only saw 2 people the whole time and got incredible sunrise colors on the faces.  Breakfast sounded like a good idea, so I waited for the cafeteria to open, and sat with a view of the mountain and free WiFi!  Was able to get some pics and blogs work done and uploaded.  What a nice office for the morning!

I used a whole computer battery, and by the time I left,  there were hundreds of people around.  Good thing I got there early and avoided the masses.   I got a Thomas Jefferson recipe ice cream on the way out,  couldn’t pass that up!


Leaving Mt Rushmore, there is the Iron Mountain Scenic road.  This road is a blast!  It has 3 pigtail bridges, and 3 tunnels through the mountain; each having a view of Mt. Rushmore.  This road is very steep and curvy and they said the road could not be built.  If you ever get a chance,  definitely worth the time.


From there I drove the wildlife loop through Custer State Park and on to Wind Cave National Park.  Wind Cave was a little more crowded,  there were about 40 people on the tour,  but did not really seem that crowded.  Wind Cave is a dry cave with over 145 miles of explored cave, but the cave is only about 5% explored.   The cave was formed as fractures in the early made the Black hills rise.  Millions of years ago, there was subsurface water that flowed through the cave for a time that dissolved the limestone and left the calcite in a formation called Boxwork.  It is a thin, honeycomb shaped structures on the walls and ceilings.  Wind cave has 95 % of the Boxwork formation in the world. 


Next was the Needles Scenic Drive.   This was even more fun than the Iron Mountain drive this morning.  There are 2 tunnels.  The first one was through a crack in the Needles and the tunnel was 8’ 4” wide.  With the mirrors fully extended, the truck and camper are exactly 8’ 4” wide.  I know this because at one point, both mirrors barely grazed the sides of the tunnel.  That was FUN!  There was a guy at the end that was watching intently and was sure I was going to get stuck.  Good thing I know my truck well.  He was really amazed I made it through.


I found a campsite in Custer State Park.  Off to Badlands tomorrow.


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