Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 3 - Rapid City, SD

We haven't ever stayed two nights in one place before on our trips back and forth but this trip we took an extra day and enjoyed the Black Hills of South Dakota! Today was a full day of Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Big Thunder Gold Mine and then a Chinese buffet for supper and swimming just before bed.

We took a ton of pictures so I'll let some of them tell our story of today. What you can't see though is how hot it was... 37C!  We just wished we could stay longer in the caves where it was blessedly cool.

Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns

Exploring a small cave with flashlights

Going down, down many steps - about 300 feet underground to the main cave (going backwards was easier for adults on the steep steps!)

Dog-tooth spar crystal

Afterwards, we bought a bag of "dirt" so the kids could sift it and discover gems and crystals to take home  (the kids loved this part and wanted to buy more bags of "dirt" to sift through!)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The proverbial "We were here" photo

A great talk by a park ranger explaining how Gutzon Borglum used his scale models to sculpt the four famous faces. What an amazing story of persistence (this is the 9th scale model version) and flexibility (to keep working within the limits of the rock)!  

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Learning about the persistence of two miners who spent 30 years painfully digging this mine to find only 10 ounces of gold!

Panning for gold - it takes a bit of skill but we came home with a few flecks of gold - and it felt good to "play" in the water!

Tomorrow we're off to Sioux Falls, SD - basically just driving straight across the state!

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