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    Posted February 27, 2009 by
    Rapid City, South Dakota

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    South Dakota's Secret


    Thousands of families and tourists must make western South Dakota their Summer vacation destination. The rugged Badlands, pristine Black Hills, beautiful canyons and caves, historic sites like Mt. Rushmore and Crazy horse are all well known, plus a myriad of lakes and trails all substantiate South Dakota's claim to being "The Land of Infinite Variety". I have lived in South Dakota my whole life and vacationed in the Hills often myself. This past Winter was the first time that I saw the area "West River" (as it is known colloquially) for the secret treasure that it is. My day spent exploring the Badlands was devoid of any tourist traffic at all. I saw one park ranger and maybe two other cars the entire time I was there. The landscape, transformed by winter light and snow was a more intimate experience of this land that I love than any other experience I've had here. Wildlife too seemed more abundant, with herds of mule deer, antelope, bison, prairie dogs, and a coyote making my hikes a constant source of surprise and delight. After leaving the Badlands I also spent some time in Spearfish canyon, stopping to hike the beautiful pine covered trail to Roubaix lake and savor the best carrot cake in the world at Cheyenne Crossing. Spearfish Canyon is a hugely popular destination with snowmobilers but few people realize there is a foot trail off the main road that will lead them to some spectacular waterfalls. The one pictured in this group of photographs is taken at Roughlock Falls.


    I'm partial to this state. I think its great all year around, but South Dakota's little secret is how much beauty and adventure it has to offer in winter!



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