Sylvan Lake Exploring

Mom, E and I took a drive up to Sylvan Lake. This is a manmade lake created in 1881 when the build a dam across the creek in the area. The lake creates a great getaway in the shadow of Mount Rushmore. The elevation in this part of the park is much higher than near the campground and wildlife loop. We prepped to hike the Sunday Gulch Trail. We arrived, hiking sticks, lunch and water in tow, to signs that said the trail was closed. So instead we opted to circumnavigate the lake over the rocks. There was a LOT of snow still on the ground but the temperatures were in the low 60s so it was great hiking weather. This is May 2019! I built a little snowman! Hi little guy! We started on the tail end of the Sunday Gulch Trail, knowing it was closed, but also knowing it was the only passage that could take us around the lake. We his to hike through some icky snowpack and between the rocks to get to the trail. E found all the ledges with the ice packs. I played with the rocks while E explored the small spaces. I am getting too tall for the tiny spots now. 60s suddenly started to feel really warm. We all cooled down by putting snow under out hats! I think it froze Es brain as he started to act really weird!  Life finds a way… there are some large trees growing between the rocks in this area. We hiked for a few hours, had lunch at the highest peak we could find and then continued around the lake.Someone we had run into earlier on our hike kept chatting with us. He was from rapid City. Anyway, he asked if we were trying to pick a snowball fight with him. Ummmmm, NO! Next thing we knew he was hurling snowballs at us, which of course gave us permission to fire back. This went on for 20 minutes with a stranger. It was fun!  Drying off with a lovely lake view. I really with I could see what it looked like before there was a lake here. We drove the needles highway and then looped the wildlife road to find the burros to feed them our carrots. I was rightfully terrified of the burros! We saw lots of pronghorn. We picked up Dad after work adn headed out on the Chuckwagon Cookout ride. We listened to Mr. Keith sing and tell stories as we bumped along in the pouring rain. The rain was coming down so hard at times. Thankfully they have a shelter for times like this. We had a great steak dinner and sang lots of fun songs. Besides our small family group the rest of the pe ople were all part of a huge tour group. We were the total outsiders! eWe take a picture everytime we see Keith! These are things the nightmares are made of… burros! The following day was our last in the area. Mom took us to Rapid City  to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to the Museum of Geology.

It was quite an impressive museum. One side of the museum was dedicated to paleontology and the other to mineralogy. The top things to see included many fossils from the White River Formation. The fossils are quite abundant in the shale layers around Rapid City. This was a very neat and extensive collection of fossils.  I am really glad we got to visit this museum. We then stopped at a place called “Dinosaur Park”. It was basically a giant hill with 13 dinosaurs that spanned the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They were all painted with the same green and white paint. It was quite un-impressive.  The view of Rapid City was spectacular so that made up for the dismal dino display. We picked up Dad on the way back in for one last loop of the roads. The weather observation station was finally open so we drove up the mountain to see that. There was a LOT of fog and cloud cover and it was super chilly.

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