Black Hills, SD – June 27-29, 2016

We arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial at 9:15pm. Cliff got a trial by fire in driving his first mountains in the dark! But he bravely met the challenge! The laser light show and simulated blast were scheduled at 9:30pm. We parked quickly, grabbed blankets, and found a spot on the ground to view the event.

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One thing that stood out to me from the show was a quote that went something like, “Their [the Native Americans’] only book is nature, and they knew ALL the pages.” It made me think of Romans 1 that states: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

After the show, the parking lot was a commotion so we decided to sleep in the RV while everyone else was fighting to get out. (We had been awake since 4:30 am on the eastern border of SD. We were now still awake at 10:15 pm on the western border!) There was a knock on the door around 11:30. The guard told us that we could not sleep in that parking lot, but there was a gravel lot at the bottom of the hill where no one would bother us. Here’s what we woke up to…

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You can see the (unfinished) Crazy Horse Monument in the background.

The next day, we drove some of the roads in Custer State Park. We had a nice picnic beside the Needles formation. Cliff & the kids took a short hike while I contemplated knowing this “page” of nature.

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Let them have their 4-hour hike.

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I’ll take my 4-mile view!

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This was the most spiritual place I’ve ever been. I can’t believe that the only reason I was able to experience this place is that it was stolen from others who had it first.

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We returned to the RV to wait out a one-hour hail storm! When life gives you hail…

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…make popcorn!

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That evening, we drove the Nature Loop. I’ll let these pictures speak.

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Cliff & the boys hiked to Harney Peak (elevation 7,242 feet) the next day. Well, they *almost* hiked to the top. Another hail storm forced their descent about 30 minutes short of the peak.  No popcorn this time, boys!

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That evening, we visited Mt. Rushmore.

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It was anti-climactic. After experiencing the rush of nature in Custer State Park, seeing the otherwise magnificent work of man, paled. Significantly. I took this picture that contrasts what I feel. On the left, man’s work. On the right, God’s.

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The next day, I hiked around beautiful Sylvan Lake with the kids.

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It was hard for me to leave the Black Hills. My spirit longed to stay there!

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But more adventure awaited us…

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