Friday, May 28, 2010

Black Hills, South Dakota

We went to South Dakota last night, with a destination of Spearfish - we were planning to deploy just north of there today. Although it was a 6 hour drive from Loveland, I was totally pumped - refreshed from seeing more friends in Colorado, to be targeting another area where I have friends previously-from-Alaska. It's pretty fabulous hopping from one spot in the country to another and being able to visit friends - hitting two birds with one stone... I'm doing my job, but at the same time, getting to catch up with those who don't live in the same town as me anymore. It's actually amazing how my energy level skyrocketed with these visits, despite not getting much sleep. I have to say, the group I am working with in the field are a blast - I am enjoying the time with them - but nonetheless always happy to see old friends.
Winding through southwestern SD made me a little homesick, with all of the pine trees, one-lane winding roads, cold streams, waterfalls. I'm kind of glad it did, because that makes me feel a little more human. It's hard to feel homesick for Alaska when you are in the middle of wide open lands, which have beauty in their own way. The two just aren't comparable. When I go somewhere with similar outdoor scenery and log buildings, that's when I feel the burn.
Spearfish is a really nice little town. I expected less, so was pleasantly surprised.Josh and Debbie came up from Rapid City to have dinner with me. It was really nice to catch up with them!!
!!!! Watermelons for less than $4! This is what I'm talking about... they cost three times that on a normal day in Fairbanks. :(

Today, we got the word that the storms that would develop today were marginal at best and way up north, too far for us to go to and then back. So, we headed back south, but on the way turned into tourists.. first destination, MOUNT RUSHMORE!!!
I spy an Alaska flag - do you see it??
The Rock-dudes. I was wanting to climb up to them but I'm not sure if that is allowed or not. Plus, it was 92 degrees so even walking was strenuous.
Fa la cool and the gang.
What's up, Washington?
So we went to Wind Cave, to find out we were 45 min late for the last tour - bummer!!
Prarie dogs were chirping all over the place.
And buffalo were all over the hills.

We started a hike on a trail called the Cold Brook Canyon trail - in trying to find a water source on the hot hot day. But, there was no cold brook, and the trail ended up in a wide open field in a quarter mile... so we turned back.
That was our short stint in SD - probably the only one for V2. Southwestern SD is a pretty sweet little spot.

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