Following the 4th of July celebration in Bismarck, Andrew and I took a three day trip down to South Dakota. Two of the days were spent with his family and then we added an extra day of our own to make sure we knocked off all 5 National Park sites in South Dakota and completed that portion of our Passport.
We left Bismarck early in the morning and made it to Sturgis by lunch. An hour after that we made it to our first destination: Mount Rushmore. This was my second time visiting Mount Rushmore, the other was back when I was nearly 12. I have to say that even though it was crazy busy up at the main plaza, I think I enjoyed this visit more than my first. Part of that was this time we hiked the Presidential Trail. It’s a short loop walk that takes you down closer to the mountain and you get a little closer view of the sculptures.
Following our time at Mount Rushmore we took a trip over to Custer State Park. Andrew and I took a much different route to get there than the rest of his family that was very twisty and turny but also very beautiful. Then we spent some time at the visitor center waiting to reunite since we took different ways! Once we all hooked up again, we took a trip down the Wilderness Loop. We didn’t see much, but we did get to see the wild asses, which was a highlight for Andrew. Although we shouldn’t really call them wild since they wait for people to feed them and even let you pet them.
Right as we were getting back in our cars from petting the asses, a bolt of lightning crossed the sky. We tried to book it out of the park as quick as we could, but we did get some thunder, lots of lightning, and even a little bit of hail. Once everything cleared up, we made our way into Hill City to check into our hotel, grab some dinner, and explore the quaint shops Hill City has to offer.