Sunday, April 13, 2014
A Really Big Field Trip: The American West
For the last several days of our trip we have been in the West. We have visited the National Bison Range, which we prepared for at home by reading several books about the Bison and the efforts to save them. The Range is probably more impressive in the summer, when you can drive the ridge line road and look out over the whole range, but even in this off season it was a lovely place and we saw wildlife up close. Here we saw the effort to preserve a bit of the heritage of the West.
Then we went to a place that marks the sad history of western expansion: Little Bighorn Battlefield Memorial. I was unprepared for how incredibly sad it felt to be there.
We also did the scenic route to the Crazy Horse Mountain and Mt. Rushmore, which took us through some old towns and then up through the Black Hills Forest.
I find the urge to carve mountains up baffles me. Both of these monuments just seem - sad.
Various tourist stops that capitalize on the "Old West" made good pit stops.
And then we had a very cold and windy jaunt through the Badlands. The visitor center at Badlands National Park is excellent, by the way.
Somewhere in far eastern South Dakota, we noticed a change in the scenery, and by the time we crossed the border into Minnesota we knew we were leaving the West behind.