South Dakota

My sister and I decided kind of on a whim, during the week of the 4th, that we should take her oldest and my two on a road trip to Mount Rushmore. After over a week of trying to get a place to stay in Custer State Park (it was solidly booked), I gave up hope. A few days later, my sister, who is more determined than me, called and found that they just had a two bedroom, two bathroom cabin with a kitchenette open up. We were going to South Dakota. Basically, July has been a whirlwind.

Lest the beautiful pictures fool you (and it was beautiful country), my sister was probably ready to hit me over the head with a frying pan our first full day in South Dakota. I broke out in hives the week before we left and they would NOT go away so I was on prednisone for a portion of the trip; I wasn’t that fond of myself to be honest. Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was much better despite still having some weird allergy stuff. We hiked, paddle boarded, canoed, swam. The wildlife was amazing. We saw buffalo, elk, burros, pronghorns, and so many deer. We heard at least one rattlesnake but thankfully never spotted one. Our last night in the park, we went on a chuck wagon dinner that I cannot recommend enough if you ever get the chance to go. We drove Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road (actually, my sister drove those and I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that). We tried the Jefferson vanilla ice cream at Mount Rushmore which was pretty delicious. And then, despite having plans to stay overnight in Sioux Falls, we power drove home. Our children were the world’s best road trippers.

P.S. Buffalo sound like they are growling and elk have high-pitched almost bird call like vocalizations. I found that kind of surprising.

P.P.S. My sister and I had a half-joking conversation on the ridiculously flat first 3/4 of South Dakota regarding the sheer amount of content in the world and how every day more and more and more is being pumped out. The sheer quantity of instagrams, Facebooks, twitters, news articles, youTubes, blogs, etc., etc. is overwhelming. And everyday we make choices about whether we add to the noise, ignore the noise, consume the noise. Basically, tech is really great, but it’s also creating content at a rate that is overwhelming and every day it grows exponentially. We didn’t come to any solutions, but it has had me thinking lately about our need to CREATE and our need to CONSUME and how creation can lead to consumerism and how I think taking breaks from consuming – whether that’s a NoSpend November or logging of social media for a couple months – is something we should probably be incorporating more of in our life. (Speaking of no spending: this not buying sock yarn thing is KILLING me.)

P.P.P.S. We did decide that we need to walk outdoors more often – like the real outdoors not the sidewalked outdoors – though that works fine in a pinch – because it makes you feel good.

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  • Love reading about your trip, Kate, and seeing your photos 🙂 .
    I can relate to your words about not feeling well and as a result not being very fond of yourself. It’s so hard to keep positive, to smile, to be a decent/non-growly human being when you’re not feeling well, and when it happens when you’re not at home it seems to all get magnified. That’s certainly been my experience… I do hope you’re feeling better now?

    I totally agree with your assessment that our need to create also causes us to consume. I have minimalistic tendencies, so my thoughts should be taken with that in mind, but I often look at creative-type blogs and think, “How many cowls does a person actually need? How many different coloured hats or mittens?” For quite a few years now the phrase “be careful what you create” has been going through my mind (this is a post that’s been in my drafts for probably a year now, sigh) — as an over-thinking, environmentally conscious, minimalistic person, the decision to create things is not taken lightly: I’ve got to think about where the materials came from, and the actual use/need of the item, as well as what happens at the end of the item’s useful life. If that sounds exhausting, it is. And perhaps explains the penchant for knitting socks, which are THE most useful item, and which wear out (the creative person inside me is happy they wear out; the environmentalist is not happy they wear out).

    • Thank you so much for asking how I’m doing, Marian!! I’m much better.

      I have found I will NEVER be able to knit enough socks. Each of my family members have orders in and I feel lucky when I get a pair. The one thing I take comfort in with the create/consume circle is when I *do* create, I typically use it to death. 🙂

  • Hi Kate,
    Checking in late (again!)–I guess I’ve been consuming less content lately. And my life has also been a whirlwind for the past 2+ weeks. I love (as always) your photos. And I am sure that in years to come, you will be so glad that you took this trip, prednisone and all. I have gotten to spend lots of time with my parents this summer, doing some of the things we could never do when my kids were younger. And what do we do most? Reminisce about the times we spent with them. And some of the things we most enjoy recalling are moments that weren’t so awesome in the living. Still, they bring us a lot of joy, now. While I love (and need!) lots of time in regular routines, I’m always thankful for the times I step out of it. Those are days I almost always remember. I hope it’s the same for you. 🙂

    • I’m so glad to hear from you! It’s so funny that you mention recalling moments that weren’t so awesome in the living. On this vacation my sister and I were recalling the last family camping trip we’d ever taken. We’ve never taken another one it was so awful, but we do laugh about it now. It seems as if you too have had a bit of a whirlwind summer. I do hope to hear more about it either on your blog or through email because it does sound as if there have been some great experiences!

      This summer has definitely been a break from regular routines and I’m beginning to feel as the need to get back to our school routine, but we have a few more things on our calendar that I’m looking forward to before school starts. How about you? Have you had to be back at work yet? How is the weather/air where you are? I was reading an article that the fires in Canada have resulted in some less than ideal air quality.