SOUTH DAKOTA: FRIENDLIEST MOUNTAINS IN THE WEST
Originally published in 1992 in the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise
I recently read where the Government did a multi-million dollar survey in which they found out the following amazing fact: These days, most Americans will take several weekend vacations during the year, instead of a two or three week vacation. This is because, the Government says, people will be too involved with their work to be able to take an extended time off.
So, complying with what will probably soon be a new federal law, some friends and I recently took a weekend vacation in that great tourist land, the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Before going on, I would like to quote from a tourism magazine distributed in South Dakota, which compares the Black Hills to the Rocky Mountains:
"[The Rockies] are awesome, best appreciated from a distant vantage point. The Black Hills, by contrast, are totally accessible...there are no wild bears to bother campers and hikers...nobody's gotten life-threateningly lost in the Black Hills for decades...no need to stand back and be intimidated by mountains that are manageable only by professional outdoorsmen...these are FRIENDLY MOUNTAINS."
Well, that was all the sales pitch I needed. Here I always thought the Rocky Mountains were awe-inspiring and grand. I have always loved to drive through the mountains in Montana, to stand alongside the road and just look up, imagining how I would feel if I were an Easterner seeing those peaks for the first time.
For some reason, I never realized that the Rockies were "unfriendly," as this South Dakota brochure said.
So, like I said, we needed no more sales pitch. Without further ado, we headed for the Black Hills. The following are a few things I noticed while I was in South Dakota: