Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hot Springs, South Dakota

We were in this area about 25 years ago, and it was at the time of the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis.  Literally the roads were dotted with black bikes.  My memory of this area this time will be of hundreds of green and yellow army trucks.  Apparently at present troops are in the area (not only from all our states but from around the world) for combat training sessions.  While in Custer State Park we saw their tent sites.  From Custer and Wind Cave Parks we drove to Hot Springs and the Mammoth Site.
 Also when we were here years ago we saw the Mammoth Site.  Then it was about 10 years old and not the large research and education site it is today.  This time we had a guide take us around the site who pointed out different areas where the bones are lying in-situ (in place).
In 1974 a bulldozer operator was preparing this site for an housing project when he noticed a tusk in the dirt.  Since then the remains of 60 mammoths have been found, and other extinct animals.  Scientists believe that about 26 thousand years ago this area was the site of a spring-fed sink hole which apparently was quite deep with slippery slopes  around it.  Mammoths and other animals, once they fell into it, had no hope of getting out.  There are enough bones at this site that, during the July digging fields session, keeps the workers busy for a full year preserving, identifying, sorting and cataloging the bones.  After touring this museum we drove into Hot Springs for supper.  The town is quite pretty with a river running through it and a waterfalls.
Also, as you may notice in the picture above, it is a town surrounded by towering reddish-colored cliffs.  And reportedly 127 thermal springs have been found in this area, over the years it has been a favorite vacation spot for those people seeking its warm healing waters.  The town is also remarkable for its turn-of- the century( twentieth century) sandstone buildings.   This wraps up our story of last Saturday.  Interestingly enough, we started it and ended it with buffalo.  I had a bison burger for supper, it tastes like beef, but is much leaner and probably better for me.  We had see one buffalo ranch out here, but it would be nice if there were more!  I would imagine, however, that they are not easy to raise compared to cattle.

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