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The Black Hills

Heidi Shenk "south dakota" "travel"

I have left you high and dry, readers. I will be the first to admit it. The school year is upon us and the last week has been incredibly hectic getting back into routines. I plan to continue my travel posts from our road trip this summer and I have a few other posts in store as well in the coming week. However, you may see me less frequently in this neck of the woods until summer vacation arrives again.

Our next stop on our road trip after visiting the Badlands was The Black Hills. We decided to stay in Custer State Park upon recommendation by my mom, and we were not disappointed. The park was absolutely huge and had so many adventures to offer. We spent one day hiking several of the park's beautiful trails up through rock formations that were most incredible. When we had pictured the Black Hills before our arrival, we certainly hadn't expected what we found. And even more flabbergasting was how quickly the land had changed from the Badlands to a rocky and forested terrain of this magnitude within a short two hour drive.

On our second day, we were able to take side trips to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse as well as enjoy some more beautiful scenery and hiking in Custer State Park. The only thing that we didn't love about Custer State Park was the fact that there was a fire ban, so we were unable to have a campfire at our site in the evening. But when you consider the drought conditions of the area, you couldn't complain about it and you felt pretty lucky that the forest was still standing. Point being, this segment of our trip was phenomenal.

There was one other thing that made this portion of the trip special. Ten years ago I traveled through the Black Hills with my parents on a similar road trip. During our time in the Black Hills I had violent food poisoning. It was so bad that I can hardly remember what happened during that part of our trip. I remember driving through those winding roads in the Black Hills, being horribly sick, staying in some random hotel for the night and waking up the next morning being able to choke down a small piece of toast. I think we also saw Mount Rushmore in there somewhere, but I don't remember much of anything because the food poisoning was so bad I had practically blacked out.

It may be silly, but as we drove out of Custer State Park to head onward to Yellowstone, I pumped my fist in the air and yelled, "I did it! I conquered the Black Hills without getting food poisoning! Woohoo!" Andrew looked at me as though I had lost my marbles, but I was glad to say that this time I could enjoy this part of our trip, unlike ten years ago.

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