Today, well, it was a great day.  It seemed as though we did more than we could in one day yet in a nice relaxing kind of way.  We started our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL today, although we kind of started some good learning over the weekend at Mt. Rushmore.  Xander did great on a first day of learning for Kindergarten as Sydney did a great first day for second grade.  It may be tough getting going on a good rhythm and I’m sure it’s going to be tough getting the kids entirely motivated, much like I know teachers have problems with their kids after a long summer break.

After the initial “curriculum” work, we really started our day.  I find it easier to put bullet points out to note what we did.  We did the following:

  • Went back to Mt. Rushmore to learn a little more and turn in for the kids Junior Ranger programs. They earned their second Junior Ranger badge of the week following yesterday’s Jewel Cave National Monument.
  • Made the drive to Custer State Park and visited their Visitor Center where we saw a pretty cool video about South Dakota and the Black Hills
  • Took the Wilderness Drive where we got to drive in-between a herd of buffalo counting easily over 200. The car was probably no more than 5 feet between some of them.
  • On the Wilderness Drive we got to feed carrots to the “wild” jack-asses and the kids loved it!
  • Drove the Needles Highway and saw the amazing views of the needles of Custer State Park
  • Hiked around Sylvan Lake on what we called the best family hike we’ve had. It was probably just over a mile which was perfect for the kids.  It had a great mix of pathway and rock climbing for the kids.
  • Concluded with a nice meal in the National Forrest.

One thing we’ve probably concluded through today was that we’ll be happy to come back to South Dakota.  We felt like it was a great time and it’s within driving distance for us from home.  We have had an equally or better time than we did at Yellowstone/Grand Tetons.  We also know there is so much more around this part to experience.  Additionally, it’s probably a better time for us than Moab and it’s the same distance drive.  Next up…we leave for Bad Lands National Park for a day and night.

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