S: 2011 - South Dakota, Wyoming & Colorado
BC: 2011 Summer Vacation JW
FC: South Dakota, Wyoming & Colorado
1: Family Vacations >Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park >Door County, WI >The Ozarks >St. Louis >Minneapolis >San Antonio >Grand Canyon >Hot Springs, AR >Arches National Park >Colorado Springs >Oklahoma City >Dallas Black Hills Yellowstone New Orleans Gettysburg Washington, D.C. Chicago Alaska | Where should we go this year? | We had been wanting to take our kids to the Black HIlls and Yellowstone for a few years. We finally had the opportunity and I grabbed it before anything could change our plans. We decided to include both places in one trip. With only 11 days to travel, we knew we would be moving quickly with so much area to cover. . .
2: Day 1: We left the 100+ degree heat of Kansas and after many miles of interstate driving, semi convoys, wheat fields and prairie grass, we came upon this quaint little town called Dalton, NE. Loved the old red water tower. | The sun was just setting as we pulled into Chadron, NE, where we stayed the first night.
3: Day 2: Finally we leave the flat lands and we see the Black Hills off in the distance. They get their name from how dark the pine trees look since their flat needles absorb sunlght. We were following a fifth-wheeler through a construction zone and noticed their steps were still down. Sure enough, they hit several cones with the steps and they went flying! | We stayed 2 nights in a cabin at the Custer KOA. Loved the location and the extra amenities. | bounce | Watch Out !
4: Crazy Horse Memorial This monument began in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski who was commissioned by Chief Standing Bear to carve a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture. He passed away in 1982 but his wife and 5 of his 7 children continue his work. Ziolkowski believed that if the public accepted the goals of Crazy Horse Memorial, they would support it financially. He believed in individual initiative and private enterprise and refused all offers of government funding. This non-profit memorial is solely funded by donations of supplies, money and the visitor fees. The pictures on the left show different views of how the monument will look when done. If it is ever finished, it will be the largest statue in the world. | "My lands are where my dead lie buried."
5: Before we stopped here, we weren't sure if it was worth it. But the Native American Educational & Cultural Center was very nice. They have a bin full of granite pieces that have been blasted from the mountain where you can pick one out to keep. They have dynamite blasts about once every couple of weeks with night blasts twice a year on the anniversaries of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the death of Crazy Horse. There is also a nightly laser show on the side of the mountain. We saw it light up the night sky while driving back to our cabin. Wow - it was cool!
6: Lundring Cousins: Bud & Hugh Estes | Left to Right: Bud Estes, Hugh Estes, Zetha Estes, Amie Estes, Brad Estes, Deb Estes.
7: Bud & Hugh are my mom, Carol's, first cousins. Their mother, Charlotte, and my grandfather, Olaf Lundring, were siblings. They grew up on a ranch near Wall, SD, and became very successful in a variety of businesses: hotels, stores, land development and even casinos. | Hugh & Amie treated us to supper at their home. Brad and Deb stopped by on their way back from a weekend at the lake. They brought Hugh's pontoon boat b ack to his shed. Bud treated us to lunch again before we left the Black Hills. We met his two eldest kids. Dawna who filled us in on points of interest in the area and Doug who is the geneologist in their family.
8: Day 3: On the way to the Badlands, we got stuck behind a large motorcycle group. I noticed that they all had the Norwegian flag on the back of their bikes. When we passed them, we saw them being lead by a pickup pulling a trailer with this logo on the side. | It was 105 degrees and too hot to hike - the Badlands get their name for a reason! | Scenic, SD
10: Cathedral Spires | Custer State Park
11: Custer S.P. had some interesting signs. However, we only saw these cute deer and chipmunks. No Bighorn sheep, slow turtles or these mysterious wolf people. | Needles Highway
12: After driving along Needles Highway, we finally made it to Mount Rushmore for the 9 pm lighting ceremony.
13: Day 4: We returned to Mount Rushmore to see it in the daytime.
14: The Faces: George Thomas Theodore Abe
15: Deadwood, SD | In 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head while playing poker in Saloon #10. The hand of cards he was holding is now known as "Dead Man's Hand". The trial of Jack McCall follows a shootout and his capture on Main Street at 6:00 pm. | Hugh Estes hotel in Deadwood. He once owned the Gold Dust casino but sold it in 2007.
16: Day 5: After "roughing" it at the Deadwood KOA, we headed west through scenic Spearfish Canyon. About half-way along the byway in Savoy, we ate lunch and walked out to Roughlock Falls. Further north, we drove by Bridal Veil Falls. This area was so beautiful and serene - would love to come back and spend more time here! We stopped by Devil's Tower, the first national monument, for a quick look. Our next stop was Cody, WY. We tried to get there in time for the Buffalo Bill Cody shootout at 6 pm but just missed it.
17: Devil's Tower aka "Bear Lodge"
18: Day 6: We arrive in Yellowstone to much cooler weather (lows around 30 and highs around 70). We checked out the geysers first before heading to the KOA in West Yellowstone, MT. There was a nightly 8 pm rodeo just down the road. Day 7: We got up early to look for more wildlife. The highlight was the bear cubs sleeping in the tree. They looked like stuffed animals. Best places to view: Wolves- Lamar Valley, Grizzlies- Hayden Valley, Moose- Pelican Valley, Elk & Bison- everywhere! We also saw many waterfalls, including Upper & Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. | Yellowstone National Park | Ranger Presentations | Bear Safety with a local reporter playing a bear getting pepper-sprayed. | Reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone. Artist's Point area. | Picnic near Mammoth Hot Springs.
19: This warning sign in the park came too late for us. We had already gotten 2 chips crossing Nebraska and Wyoming. | "Down" time at the KOA. | Day: 8: The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone was a great find. We were able to see a pack of wolves (Akela, Kootenia, Summit & Joseph) be fed elk and antelope parts close up. We also saw 2 huge Alaskan grizzly siblings (Sam & Illie) and 1 Canadian grizzly (Spirit) which had been rescued from the wild. We crossed the continental divide 8 times (including 2 in Idaho) before leaving Wyoming.
20: Old Faithful | Beehive Geyser
21: Warning - Boiling water, thin crust! Our first stop is Old Faithful and several other geysers. Can you smell the sulfur? We were lucky and saw Beehive geyser (which only erupts once a day) erupt right after Old Faithful. Steam vents can form anywhere, even in the parking lot at Biscuit Basin. A burnt stick over another vent shows how hot the steam can be, and minerals and micro-organisms can create beautiful mosaics. | Biscuit Basin
22: Black bear cubs | "Tatanka" - Lakota for Buffalo | Fawn | Coyote | Grizzly | Gray wolves | Black bear | Moose | Bull elk | Pronghorn antelope | ? | Wild Tourists
23: Wildlife | Black bear cubs | Bison | Grizzly | Bull elk | Cow & bull elk | Gray wolf | Goose | Baby bison | Coyote
24: Looking over the edge of Upper Falls. | Gibbon Falls | Tower Falls
25: Lower Falls from Artist's Point | The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone | WATERFALLS | The water was running very fast & high due to the huge melting snowpack from winter.
26: Day 8: From Yellowstone, we headed south into Grand Teton Nat'l Park. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Lizard Creek and then drove along Teton Park Road. That night we stayed at Jackson Hole and spent some time shopping around the square and eating at a great Mexican cantina. | Above: East entrance near Moran Junction Left: Jackson Lake at Lizard Creek Below Left: Jenny Lake Below: Snake River at Oxbow Bend
27: Day 9: We headed back into the park along hwy 191. What a beautiful morning! We stopped at Mormon Row to see the historical Moulton Ranch barn (see next page) and at Snake River overlook. We left the park through the east entrance heading toward Muddy Gap, WY. | Above: Snake River Overlook Above Right: Jenny Lake Right: Mormon Row home with Grand Teton peak in background Below: Moose Junction on the south side of the park.
30: There are 2 chapels in the park. A wedding was just finishing at one and just starting at the other.
31: Chapel of the Sacred Heart | Jackson Hole was the 4th place that had a shootout at 6 pm and a rodeo at 8 pm. We did not go to either.
32: Day 9: On the long trek back across Wyoming, we took a short detour to see two pioneer landmarks along the Oregon Trail. Independence Rock gets its name from the fact that wagon parties attempted to reach it by July 4 in order to make it through before winter snowfall. You can climb the rock and see where pioneers carved their names and used it as a sort of bulletin board for other travelers. Nearby is Devil's Gate, a natural cleft in the ridge carved by the Sweetwater River. Day 10: We met up with Kevin's family in Estes Park, CO, for some fun, food, fishing and relaxation.
33: Day 11: We return to hot, dry Kansas, tired but full of memories of a wonderful trip.