Rapid City Here We Come

We are going to Rapid City, South Dakota next Sunday, returning Tuesday. I was an infant last time I visited1

I trust the weather will oblige, allowing me to go on a few hikes. Both this:

The nation’s oldest mountain range, the Black Hills provide a nearly complete stratigraphic history. The Hills are among the top 5 localities in the U.S. for a variety of minerals. In addition to the state’s official mineral, rose quartz, more than 140 other minerals are found here. Vivid agate deposits, especially the multicolored Tepee Canyon agate, hide in scenic limestone canyons. The states official gem, the Fairburn agate, can be spotted in alluvial deposits along the foothills. The rockbeds are scattered near Kadoka, Interior, Scenic and Fairburn. These eroding badlands areas, where collecting is allowed, are administered by the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Collectiong is not allowed, however, in the Badlands National Park. Mineral collections are found at the Museum of Geology in Rapid City and the June Culp Zeitner collection at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo. Advice is available from rock shops in the area, or from local gem and mineral societies.

[From Outdoor Recreation]

and this:

The uncrowded, natural surroundings of Western South Dakota are ideal for walking, hiking and back-packing. The Black Hills National Forest and surrounding State and National Parks offer around 400 miles of both nature walks and bona fide hiking systems on approximately 75 different trails throughout the Black Hills. For a map and more information on Black Hills trails, contact the Black Hills National Forest at; 605-673-2251. Click here to see a map of the Black Hills’ trails or visit the brochure.

sounds great. As does:

From mountain-climbing goats to prairies of roaming buffalo, you’ll encounter opportunities to view and photograph wild animals up close. Bald eagles, prairie dogs, elk, bighorn sheep, wild horses and many more species call the Black Hills home. The wildlife parks of the southern Black Hills are renowned for nature photography. Nearly 1,800 buffalo roam free in Custer State Park and are easily spotted from the road. Buffalo can also be viewed at Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park. Custer State Park, Wind Cave and the Black Hills National Forest also offer elk, antelope, Bighorn sheep and bald eagle sightings. Always have your camera ready and be prepared to pull off the road.

Of course, there is the famously lame Mount Rushmore, a prominent plot point in Alfred Hitchock’s masterpiece, North by Northwest:

“North By Northwest” (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM))

and the Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the form of Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance.

The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural center. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Native Americans, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 8 miles (13 km) away from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture’s final dimensions will be 641 feet (195 m) wide and 563 feet (172 m) high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mt. Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.

The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is still far from completion. If finished, it will be the world’s largest sculpture.

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West" (Dee Brown)

For a couple days now, we’ve been spontaneously singing, “Rapid City Here We Come” at inappropriate moments…

  1. the oft-repeated story is that I threw my favorite blanket into the campfire, “Just to watch it burn” / Johnny Cash voice. []

3 thoughts on “Rapid City Here We Come

  1. AP says:

    I saw that blanket burn and I’m pretty sure I was at Yosemite at the time. But I love family stories.

    July 4, 1970.

  2. Yosemite, Rapid City, they sound so close. Ahem. Only a few hundred miles off.

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