Wednesday, October 1, 2014


After our drive through the Black Hills, it was time to head to our home for the next few days at Custer State Park. Our site at Sylvan Lake Campground was absolutely peaceful and beautiful. There's nothing like the feeling of being surrounded by nature! Even if we didn't plan a single activity, just hanging out at our campsite and enjoying each other's company would have been perfect.

Speaking of campsites, time to tour ours! For the hikers and campers out there, our MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent and Western Mountaineering Alpinlite sleeping bags were perfect. They kept us warm and dry in the moist temperatures overnight. We also used REI Flex Lite chairs, which were compact, comfortable, and perfect for hanging out around the campfire. The best purchase we made was just a simple tarp, it kept our "dining room" dry from the occasional rain and ready for breakfast time!

Our home.

Living room with fireplace, of course.

Our dining room with a tarp for cover.

Our centerpiece. (Don't worry, we didn't take it with us!)

Breakfast time!

We were up bright and early for our hike at Sylvan Lake (which might look familiar to you if you've seen National Treasure: Book of Secrets with Nicholas Cage). First, a little thing about the weather in South Dakota... Man, is it fickle! The day started out gloomy, had a few moments of sunshine for the beginning of our hike, and then the rain made an appearance with an encore at the end of the day. That's when I learned to always pack extra gear in my backpack. Since that rain came out of nowhere, I had to borrow my now-fiancé's jacket because mine was in the car. Oops!

We started a quick trip around the lake, but decided to take a detour and try out the Sunday Gulch trail. The sign said it was an intermediate hike and there may still be ice present in May, but we thought - it's almost June, can't be too bad, right? Oh, so wrong. While the hike started out okay, I figured they were serious about the difficulty since there were handrails throughout the trail. Too bad I didn't take advantage of it and slipped down some wet rocks! Second hike of the trip and I'm already getting injured. No surprise there for my klutzy self! As we went on, the running water turned into ice. The further we went, the more there was. We actually had to nick away at the ice to get traction to keep on going! As we continued, the ice coverage grew and grew until the rest of the trail was completely frozen. While a certain someone was trying to figure out ways to slide down the guardrail, I knew I had to call it quits. I'm all for a challenge, but I wasn't about to slide down the rest of the trail just to have no way to get back up! 

Started out with sunny skies!

Sylvan Lake.

Time to get messy!

The rocks I slid down. Oops!

I'll follow his lead.

Water everywhere!

The beginning of the ice. We chipped the side so we could get some traction.

The end of our hike. It was completely iced over!

Yeaaah, not doing that.

South Dakota has the coolest geology!

Us at Sylvan Lake!

After our hike of defeat, we headed into the town of Custer for lunch. Everyone raved about the sweets at Purple Pie Place, so we made sure to make time for a stop. After our delicious lunch and dessert, we chatted it up with a local who was one of the many sweet people of South Dakota. 

While driving around town, we noticed Wyoming license plates everywhere and realized the next state over was only about 30 miles away! We decided, heck, why not? Let's go to Wyoming! That decision made us 0-2 that day. They were completely redoing the roads and we were stuck in wet dirt behind a parade of cars on the side of the cliff going 10 MPH. And then had to do that trip back. Oof! 

Besides the hiccups of the day, it was still beautiful everywhere we went - especially the vastness of driving to Wyoming. I really think I could see that every day for the rest of my life!

Love the openness of the road!

Driving through small towns in Wyoming.

Our sucky drive to and from Wyoming.

Hello from Wyoming!

Next post will be all about South Dakota wildlife and our hike at Lovers Leap. Don't worry, we didn't jump!


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