Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend Adventure II

9.10 Sylvan Lake
On Mother's Day, my Mom, Josh & myself headed south to Custer State Park, one of our favorite places. It was a beautiful but windy day and we were headed south.

Our first stop was Sylvan Lake. By this time we all needed a stretch and we pulled Brady out for a little walk. Though we had been there countless times, never before had we seen the loop around the pond. How'd we miss that? Of course we were obligated to explore and ended up finding a small cave and waterfall. The trail took about twenty minutes and lead us behind the rocks that act as a natural dam for the lake. It turns out that there was once a grand hotel near the dam that burned shortly after it's construction. All that remains is the small bridge above the dam that offers the illusion of standing on water. It was a perfect short walk.

5.8.11 Wind Cave NP
All loaded up we headed south on Needles Highway. It weaves along the granite outcroppings and leads you through three tunnels that each share amazing views. It's the best way to enter Custer SP. We took some of the usual roots through the park, enjoying Wildlife Loop Road and stopping here and there to photograph the wildlife but the real adventure began when we drove into Wind Cave National Park. On the road in we saw the prairie dogs basking in the sun and bison playing along a pond. The baby bison were spunky and playful while their mothers weren't impressed with our intrusion. Bighorn sheep rested along side the road and burros blocked out paths, demanding payment. After scratching a few noses we found a dirt road on a ridgeline that gave expansive views of Custer SP and Wind Cave NP. There were a couple turnouts along the way where we pulled over and enjoyed the beautiful day.

5.8.11 Wind Cave NP, Bison & Baby
We ending up taking Highway 16 north from the town of Custer to Hill City. Maintaining tradition we made our way to Prairie Berry. No trip from Maine would be complete without a stop there. As it turns out Mother's Day was the premier of their newest wine, Sand Creek. Perfect. We obliged them with a tasting and it was delicious. Rarely do I find a red wine which I really enjoy but Sand Creek definitely hit the spot. As usual we purchased a few bottles; some heading east to Maine and others north to Deadwood. Happy and exhausted we made our way home.

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