Rapid City

A Loooong Trip to Rapid City

Land Acknowledgement: This is the land of the Apsáalooke (Crow), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Salish people. They were stewards of this land from time immemorial. Click the links above to learn more about these native people.

Well, we knew going into this trip that there were going to be some longer car trips, especially in the middle of the country, and this trip was one of them. I think we travelled about 10-12 hours this one trip - whew! We survived, but I sure am glad we didn't try and put too many more of these long trips in our itinerary!

The trip itself was actually very informative and we saw some super cool things. From Red Lodge we headed to the area of The Battle of Greasy Grass (aka Battle of Little Big Horn, aka Custer's Last Stand). The kids and I had been studying this battle for a bit; looking at all the different sides and we all came to the conclusion that Custer got what was coming to him. The Indigenous groups involved in this battle celebrate this day with horse races and festivities, and rightfully so! The site itself is mostly just a grassy open area, but there is an informative visitor center and and interactive tour. I wish there was a bit more focus on the Indigenous Nations, but there is a nice memorial for those lives lost and some commemorative and celebratory plaques.

From The Battle at Greasy Grass we headed on to Devil's Tower. We happened to hit it right at sunset, and my oh my was it spectacular! As you can see from the pictures this is quite a monument and a very sacred space for the Indigenous Nations. Interestingly, the name "Devil's Tower" was most likely a mistranslated name and many of the Indigenous Nations do not like their sacred space named after a "devil". There was even an act in Congress to rename it to Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark, which unfortunately did not pass. Click HERE for more information about this amazing site.

In true fashion, because we hit Devil's Tower at sunset, the last two hours of our trip were in the dark. We rolled into our AirBnB around 9:00 and zonked out!

The next day we did work/school and explored the city. The kids and I found a really cool park with four different playgrounds including a neat interactive game. The kids loved it and we spent most of the morning there. We then headed back to have some lunch. Our plan was then to go check out the Spearfish area, but I think with the long car trip the previous day and some tired kiddos we all kind of hit a wall (there may have been some tears) and we decided to stay around the AirBnB and chill. We played games, made tacos and relaxed. I think it was just what we all needed.

After school and work the next day we headed out to see the Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. We all really enjoyed the Black Hills area and Needles Highway through Custer State Park was quite lovely. Crazy Horse Memorial is still being worked on (and has been for the last 70 years!) and isn't expected to be finished until 2050. But it was quite cool to see such an amazing sculpture in the process of being made!

After driving the Needles Highway we got to Mt. Rushmore at 7:00 and decided to wait and see the lighting ceremony. We grabbed a quick dinner there and watched the ceremony (Ranger speech and video in a very large amphitheater) and then watched as the faces lit up. Noelle was a little underwhelmed and we all agreed that Mt. Rushmore seemed tiny in comparison to the Crazy Horse Monument. :) After the ceremony we headed back for another late night - seeming like a bit of a trend.