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Custer State Park

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The Great American Road Trip: Custer and Black Hills Memories and Snapshots

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MEMORIES & SNAPSHOTS

  • Singing “Hey Bear, Go away Bear. I don’t want to see you on the trail Bear” to the tune of Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl.”
  • Stacy Gonzalez, the bunny who hung out at camp and almost jumped in the fire.
  • Reality of travel: With a chest full of congestion and a fatigued body, I had to make a pit stop at a Deadwood clinic and got a Z pack. On the bright side, we find my old hag, chain-smoking, wheezy cough pretty hilarious. It sends us into fits of laughter :)
  • I had high hopes for Deadwood. I had seen it on the Bachelor (guilty!) and loved its wild west charm. The city in the hills has a gritty and intriguing past of cowboys and outlaws. I am sorry to say that I was a little disappointed. While Deadwood met my expectations visually, there wasn’t much else there besides casinos and bars. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m not the type to stay in a bar all day and I don’t exactly have money to gamble (I quit my job for this road trip remember?). We walked around and grabbed a quick bite before heading back to our camp ground and Hill City.
  • Giggle fits and getting wedged in the spelunking test tunnel at the Jewel Caves National Monument. The caves are beautiful and the third longest in the world. Go!

 

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The Great American Road Trip: Custer State Park – Sunday Gulch Trail

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We hopped in the car and headed off to hike the Sunday Gulch Trail today in Custer State Park. Although a short 3.8 miles, this trail covers a lot of altitude and took 2 hours. The trail starts at the visitor center at Sylvan Lake and quickly turns into steep switchbacks, winding up and down hills, across streams and up a rocky waterfall. The trail is peppered with shiny flecks of mica and looks brilliant in the afternoon sun. All in all, this trail was a great leg and butt workout and such an endorphin high.

You will need to pay an entrance fee to get here and note that the access road is closed in winters.

Keep adventuring,

xo Alina

 

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The Great American Road Trip: Custer, Black Hills and South Dakota

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Heading west towards the Black Hills National Forest, the scenery quickly changes to thick forests and mountains. Today was a “rebuild” day as I have mentioned before that a super-cell storm in the Badlands ripped our tent and flooded our gear. We stayed the night in a hotel and showered for the first time in five days! I should note that getting a hotel was extremely difficult because it was the 75th annual Sturgis and a million bikers descended on this little corner of South Dakota for the week. We shared our hotel with a Latin biker club haha.

We spent the morning at the laundry mat, Cabelas and Walmart before driving on to our home for the next couple nights, Oreville Campground. It was the most beautiful day of sunshine and a cool breeze. It felt very autumnal and a welcome change from the oven-like conditions of the Badlands. Our new camp site is nestled into a shaded cove of pine and birch trees. We napped in the sun, read our books and like all good basic girls, sipped on pumpkin spice cappuccinos. (Made from the mix I bought at Heini’s Cheese Factory).

Our campground is an eight minute drive to Hill City, a pocket-sized town with bars, Native American crafts, souvenirs, and burger joints. We spent a good bit of time in this one Native American store, perusing animal pelts, dream catchers, leather pony tail holders, medicinal herbs, sage, and stunning portraits of tribes. This little main street has so much charm and we enjoyed killing an afternoon here. Not to mention all the great Sturgis people watching! We never planned to coincide our time here with Sturgis, but it has been so hilarious and fascinating to witness. Everywhere we go has been dominated by bikers and they’re a rowdy group. You’ll see a lot of drunken partying, both fun and not so fun, but you’ll also quickly learn that bikers are a loyal and hospitable type. They’ll be the first to help you with a campsite chore or invite you over to theirs for a campfire and venison sausage they hunted and processed themselves. We met so many Sturgis characters along our way and listened to their tales of the open road and love for the Wild West American spirit. In the words of a family friend, “That’s a slice of America right there.”

Keep adventuring,

xo Alina

 

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