Sorry we have not been able to post for a few days. We have been in places that have no internet or phone access.
We have been in South Dakota since Monday. I have completely fallen in love with the Black Hills. It is gorgeous. I don’t know if it is the current weather, but everyday is beautiful, the air is so calm and clean. It is such a peaceful place despite the masses of tourists in the area.
The day after the eclipse was our first sight-seeing day in the Black Hills. We had a special guide arranged through a tour company called Go Native America Go Native America Tours. They arrange local Natives to guide you through the sites. Our guide was Donovin Sprague Hump who is Lakota and a descendent of Crazy Horse. He has written numerous books about Native history and teaches history at the local college. He went to Berkeley for undergrad supported by a federal grant that is part of the agreement made between the tribes and the Federal government.
He met us at the Wind Cave monument. Rather than going inside the cave he showed us another outside side which was the cave exit which has much more significance from the Native perspective. From there we drove around the Black Hills seeing different sites and learning about the Sioux history of the area and the Native stories significant to the area. We drove through Custer park and did the initial part of the Harney Peak Hike, far enough to see some amazing views. It was an incredibly educational day and we have a new friend in Donovin.
After our tour Shayna and I relaxed in the Hot Springs Mineral pools. It is natural mineral spring that is consistently 87 degrees. It was originally used by the Natives as a place to bathe and for ceremonies, but then was developed into a bath house. It is now enclosed as a large pool but the bottom is covered with river rock. There is a slide, basketball net, volleyball net and then a section is set apart as a lap lane area. While Shayna played on the slide I attempted to do some laps. I was immediately stopped by a guy who asked if I lived in town. He was so excited to find someone who was a swimmer. He and his wife had just moved there from Boulder, Co. She bought an art gallery and he is figuring out what to do.