On September 28, Tanner’s birthday, we celebrated at home with presents and cake. We moved that day as well, to French Creek RV Park in Custer, South Dakota. That same day, we went to Jewel Cave and Devils Tower.
Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world, with over 200 miles of mapped cave. We did not go into the cave, but the visitor center had displays and a map of it. One name of a particular part of the cave caught my attention. It was called Shelob’s lair (I am a fan of Tolkien’s works).
At Devils Tower, we hiked to near the base of the tower. It was very tall, with super steep sides and long lines running from top to bottom. The weather was cold and cloudy where we were.
September 29, 2019
The next day, we went to Badlands National Park. The landscape was like a mini Grand Canyon, with layered rock, spires, canyons, and rock formations. We took a few short hikes.
After, we went to Minuteman Missile NHS. It was a museum about the Cold War and the U.S. and Russia’s building of missiles. We learned about how life would have been in America during that time, and there was a mock 20th century living room with a fake old TV showing how American children would have done bombing drills at school.
Then, we visited Mount Rushmore. This famous landmark was completed by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum in 1941. The faces carved into the mountain are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Susan B. Anthony was almost added, but funds for it ran out. We hiked in the park, and since it is such a popular tourist attraction, it was a bit crowded.
One thing I find interesting about the mountain is that there is a room behind the heads. It is called the Hall of Records, and in it, there is a teakwood box in a titanium steel vault covered by granite. Inside the repository are sixteen porcelain enamel panels, describing the construction of Mount Rushmore. However, the Hall of Records is not accessible to visitors, so it seems a mystery to me.
Finally, we went to Wall Drug Store, a tourist attraction with gift shops, eateries, cool decorations, and other things inside. We got some rocks and food from Wall Drug Store, and in the eating area, there was a really beautiful stained glass ceiling pattern.
October 4, 2019
We went to Wind Cave National Park, but didn’t go into the cave. It contains about 95% of the world’s discovered boxwork (cave formations). We learned about how Alvin McDonald used to explore the cave by candlelight for fun and then give tours of it. He died at the age of twenty from an illness.