We woke up on Monday with a plan to hit up Custer State Park and the Badlands. I’m not sure why we always do this to ourselves, but we always underestimate how long it will take to do a state or national park. Needless to say, we only covered a very small portion of Custer State Park.
The good thing is that we have great flexibility in our travels. Since we don’t have to be home by a certain day, it’s made this trip much easier. I think our original plan was to spend two days in the area. But Josh’s parents car broke down on Saturday and won’t be fixed till Tuesday at the earliest. Since we knew that, we just planned around it.
On our way out of Rapid City this morning, we stopped at Walmart to grab lunch supplies. The kids of course got in a fight over riding in the shopping cart and I had to carry Lia kicking and screaming out of Walmart. So that’s always fun.
I’m always amazed when people act like they’ve never seen a kid throw a fit. I mean, the girl can throw a fit with the best of them, but still. So here I am, carrying a child who is screaming bloody murder trying to hit me, out to the minivan that’s covered in shoe polish that says #happyfamilysummer. I hope you can appreciate the irony as much as I do!
Once Lia calmed down, we had a great day. We spent several hours driving through the park and stopping every couple miles to get out and climb up awesomely huge rocks. I managed to keep the nervous panicky mom inside of me calmed down even though we were climbing really high.
We thought we’d drive the Needles highway loop and then go south to the Wildlife loop, but we never made it past Sylvan Lake. The kids were dead set that they were going to go swimming in that lake. It would have been great for swimming if it hadn’t been 70 degrees. But they insisted that they wanted to swim, so we put on their suits and headed to the lake.
We climbed around on some rocks by the lake and the kids waded into the freezing cold water, but that didn’t last long. We decided to walk the trail around the lake, which was just beautiful! There were lots of great spots for climbing and the views were just gorgeous. After we made the entire loop around the lake, we stopped into the general store to grab a quick bite to eat.
We were just ready to drive on and at the last minute, we decided to rent a paddle boat on the lake. Well, really we wanted to kayak, but they only had single person kayaks and they wouldn’t let the kids ride in them. So we got a paddle boat and paddled all the way around the lake. When we got back to the dock, someone had turned in a canoe so we took a turn with that as well.
I’m happy to report that our second canoe trip went much better that the first one! We took the canoe on the full tour of the lake too, though we only have iPhone photos of that. Josh was convinced that we would tip the thing, so he put the camera in the car. We didn’t tip the canoe, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. The kids really wanted to tip it over, though I’m not sure why because the lake water was freezing!
After our lake adventure, we exited the park through the Black Hills forest and headed to Hill City. It turns out that Hill City is not as exciting as Keystone. We grabbed a quick dinner at a diner, made a pit stop in Keystone for treats, and then headed back to Rapid City for bed.
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