The Adventures of Platy and the Gang
Volume 6
The Black Hills
June 8, 2003

We arrived in Hot Springs, SD on June 2nd. We stayed at a campground north of town but south of Wind Cave National Park. The park is where the southern end of the Centennial Trail is located. Judy started hiking the next day.

Wind Cave
While she was hiking I went on one of the cave tours. Wind Cave is one of the longest caves in the US. It has 109 miles of charted passages and they estimate that they have only found 5% of them. This is the original entrance to the cave. They call it Wind Cave because of the wind created by atmospheric pressure differences between the cave and the outside. It has been clocked at 75 mph. The Ranger is demonstrating the wind in this picture. Just after I took the picture a rat appeared on the ledge under the sign, looked at him and ran down into the hole.
No, we didn't have to crawl in here. There is a doorway that was blasted in in the 1890's just after the cave was discovered. We went down about 300 feet and traveled about 1/2 mile, then we came up by elevator.
There are a lot of traffic problems in the park. They have no control over their animals. Some have no jobs and have started begging.
Mammoth Site

In 1974 while leveling for a subdivision, they found some bones. It has now become one of the world's greatest fossil treasures. More then 54 Columbian and woolly mammoths have been unearthed in this ancient, slippery-sided sinkhole, now an internationally renowned paleontological site/museum. They have constructed a building over it with a museum and a laboratory for analyzing their findings.
The second day as Judy hiked in Custer State Park, she got blisters on the ends of her toes on both feet. She kept walking and ended up with a mess. The blisters peeled the skin from the center toe on each foot. She had to take a couple of days off from hiking so we went sightseeing.
The traffic in this park is also hazardous. These guys weigh 2,000 pounds and don't watch out for cars.
Mt. Rushmore
We visited Mt. Rushmore on the same day that Abe did. We had lunch in the dining room while it rained and then walked the trail at the base of the mountain. Mt. Rushmore was completed in 1941 and was all government funded.

We then drove to Crazy Horse Memorial.

This project was started in 1949 with no money. It is an entirely private funded project that receives only gifts and the admission charged at the site. Twice the sculptor turned down 10 million dollars in government funding. To give you an idea of the size, the heads on Mt Rushmore are 60 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse is 90 ft high and when completed the entire statue will be 563 ft high and 641 ft long. The site will also include an Native American University and Museum.
This photo shows a model (and Judy) in front of the mountain. (1 mile away)
Judy has now started hiking again and has just left the northern border of Custer State Park. It has rained sometime every day and all day yesterday. She did see a family horseback riding on the trail and we met another hiker at lunch in the Legion Lodge.
We are now staying at this campground just north of Custer State Park. We will be moving north to Silver City on Tuesday 6/10.
Platy has not been happy with the weather here. It has rained every day and it has gotten cold. Last night it was in the 30's and they reported snow on the Volksmarch to the top of Crazy Horse. He has been sleeping in his sleeping bag at night. It's really a knit hat. We haven't told him what the writing is on it.
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