What a great weekend. We took advantage of the long holiday weekend and my new schedule and drove to South Dakota. We knew we were going to visit the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments but didn’t really have too much else planned. We actually thought we might run out of things to do. Wow, were we wrong.
Since we were finishing off our 31 day geocaching streak we also knew we would be picking up a few caches along the way but were going to limit them. Again, this was the end of a month of caching and our longest streak ever. The day started out at 4 am with the younger members of our crew fast asleep. Hours into the drive we pulled into a rest stop in Wyoming right before the girls woke up and as we neared the South Dakota border. A quick search and we were in luck. There was a medium sized geocache at the edge of the rest stop and it had an interesting theme. It was a post card exchange. We thought we had one in our geocaching bag but had left it as swag several caches ago. Oh well.
We continued on into South Dakota and headed straight to the Crazy Horse memorial. The sheer immensity of the project was impressive to say the least. We did the tour and moved on to Mount Rushmore. While we walked around gawking at another man made marvel, we completed the Earth Cache GC33JW4 Granite Rushmore. It coincided with our littlest geocacher getting her Junior Ranger badge.
The best part of the weekend surprisingly was Custer State Park. It was beautiful and there was way more hiking than we could have done in a week. We have already decided that we are going to return and spend a week in one of the cabins, hopefully for days full of hiking, caching, and relaxing. We picked up a few smileys while we were in the park and one really stood out.
We went after GC9B6D Middle Earth as it was slightly off one of the trails that we intended to hike. NotBritish and I (Memfis) split off from the other half of the Mafia to go for the cache. The description warned us that it was off the trail and they were right. We did some light scrambling over some downed trees and a few rock formations. As always we did our best not to damage or alter any of the natural area. We weaved our way through the landscape until we reached one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
I have done some pretty extensive traveling in my lifetime but there was something about this clearing that struck a chord within me. We stood in an area that was about half the size of a football field but covered with lush green grass broken only by granite boulders and trees jutting up and intertwining into a solid canopy. Even if planned, I would be doubtful a more beautiful escape could be crafted. NotBritish was equally impressed and neither of us wanted to leave this small eden we had stumbled upon. In fact, we walked around in the clearing much longer than we should have considering the other half of the mafia was waiting on us, oops.
Back to the task at hand, we searched for the cache and climbed around on the rocks for a while. We enjoyed every minute of this experience. This one definitely earned one of our fave points. We also dropped in four trackables (plus one of our own) that we acquired back home in Colorado. This was a simple cache but the location is what ranks it in the top cache adventures to date.