Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

September 24th, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a solid sequel that contains just as much enjoyment and humor as its predecessor Kingsman: The Secret Service. One year after the events of the first film, the Kingsman’s spy headquarters is fatally attacked by an unknown entity. With most of the organization now dead, the surviving agents Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and his trainer Merlin (Mark Strong) travel abroad to team up with Statesman, their American counterparts, in an effort to bring this mysterious new enemy to justice and save the world once again.

Featuring the same ridiculously over-the-top British spy action-comedy set to music, unique British style & charm, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a worthy follow-up to the 2015 film. The director’s slick, fast- paced action and use of slow motion editing showcases his talent for cleverly choreographed fight scenes and quirky comic relief, which few other directors would be able to replicate successfully.

The cast of characters, both new and old, lend themselves to some highly emotional and entertaining situations, including a hilarious performance from SIR ELTON JOHN (wow, Sir Elton John!) playing a fictionalized version of himself. The real stand-out, though, was Julianne Moore as the film’s villain that’s so playful it’s hard to take her seriously.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has all the action, attitude and appeal of the first one, but improves on its own formula by incorporating Americans. The gadgets and the fight sequences are as delightfully over-the-top and thrilling as the original, but the violence is (appropriately) just a shade less gleeful (no heads exploding into fireworks set to music).

For anyone considering watching this it isn’t meant for young children. Also if you haven’t seen the first part, please make sure you see it first so you’re in on what’s happening with this one.

PS: Elton John’s cameo was brilliant! Unconventional and brilliant.


Friday Funnies

September 22nd, 2017

It’s that glorious time of year when rural communities are planning their harvest festivals. I really enjoy country harvest fests and seeing all the vegetables, crafts and animals. We are fortunate to live in a country with good food security and jokes about it:

A Vicar at the Spearfish Harvest Festival had arranged all the vegetables in front of the Altar. He asked the children if they could name them. The replies were potatoes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and rutabaga. So he asked if they could use one word to cover them all. A little boy held his hand up and replied ” Gravy”

A farmer turned up to evening service and discovers that he and the pastor are the only people there.  “What shall we do?”, asks the pastor. “Well”, replies the farmer, “If I goes to feed my sheep and only one turns up, I feeds her.” So after four hymns , two sung canticles, one sung psalm,  two lessons, prayers for everything under the sun  and a twenty minute sermon the service ends. “If I goes to feed my sheep and only one turns up, I feeds her”, says the farmer on the way out, “but I don’t give her the whole bag full!””

May your heart be filled abundantly this season.


Old West Devotions: Chaps

September 20th, 2017

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.  Psalm 119:50

Chaps are leather coverings for the legs of the cowboy.  They’re usually made out of sturdy leather and made to protect the legs. It’s important they’re sturdy leather because of the shrubs and vegetation that tear at the cowboy’s legs.  Like chaps, God gives us wonderful protection by providing His Word for us as His children.

When the world starts tearing at us and reaching out to grab us with all it has to offer, we can be refreshed and cling to the Word of God and find peace and comfort there.  We can take comfort knowing God provides protection that covers us in this world.

Friday Funnies

September 15th, 2017

In case you haven’t heard, wildfires have been widespread in most of the western United States and Canada this year. Not only do the wildfires bring untold damage and destruction to the area, but the smoke creates its own health and pollution problems to those of us close enough. Just today I heard about 6 fires in and around Custer State Park and Wind Cave. One of those stories was actually amusing enough to share:

One dark night last week outside Hot Springs a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.

When the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fire chief and said, “All our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact.” But the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate.

As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company’s secret files.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer fire company, composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65. To everyone’s amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant. Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno. Outside, the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire fought it back on all sides. It was a performance and effort never seen before. Within a short time, the Norse old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas.

The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave fire fighters. The local TV news reporter rushed in to capture the event on film, asking their chief, “What are you going to do with all that money?” “Vell,” said Ole Oleson, the 70-year-old fire chief, “Da first ting ve gonna do is fix da brakes on dat truck!”




Old West Devotions: Horseshoe

September 13th, 2017

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Horseshoes are normally made of metal and designed to protect a horse’s hooves against abrasion and breakage.  They are fitted by a professional farrier, who specializes in the preparation of feet and fitting appropriate shoes. A horseshoe is also kept as good luck by some that hang it with the ends pointing upward to “catch” any luck that might be floating by.

We could say that God is our farrier. He prepares us, fits us and protects us by placing the Holy Spirit within us. He doesn’t just set us in the world and expect us to have all the friction and roughness of the world bear into us as we bump along in life.  The Lord is there for us to protect us… like our horseshoe.  And it’s not by dumb luck that we have His protection. We were invited as His children. Thank you, Lord!

Sunday in South Dakota: Homestake Mine & Tatanka

September 10th, 2017

High in the Black Hills, surrounded by Ponderosa pine forests, meandering trout streams and magnificent mountain meadows, are one of South Dakota’s most memorable twin cities: Lead & Deadwood.

Lead has been called the richest 100 square miles on Earth. Over a period of 126 years, miners pulled more than 41 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver from the Homestake Mine, the largest mine in the western hemisphere. Prospectors began arriving in the Black Hills in the mid-1870s. Very quickly, “Lead City” was transformed into a thriving community built around the gold-mining industry.  In December 2001, however, that limit arrived. Homestake mined its final ore and left behind more than 370 miles of tunnels from the surface to the 8,000-foot level. Today, those caverns house world-leading research by Sanford Lab that seeks to understand the riches of the universe.

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center now is a modern and dramatic facility providing public outreach for the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory as well as interpretation of the history and cultural context of the Homestake Mine and the new underground Lab. A short video history brings it to life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrJtG_jLptg

After a physics lesson in WIMPS and Neutrinos, I followed the Bison to Deadwood to study the story of Tatanka. Amazingly, 30 to 60 million Bison once roamed the Great Plains of North America. By the close of the 19th century, it was estimated that less than 1,000 bison survived. I was very impressed by the hands-on education exhibits and 14 larger-than-life bronze sculptures of bison being pursued by Native American riders. I could almost hear the shouts of the hunters and the thunder of the buffalo’s hooves. Neutrinos are basically nothing. Bison, on the other hand, are inspiring, full of life and passion. Make this special place a “must see” stop in the Black Hills. Watch Kevin Costner talk about his passion for the Black Hills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgbaEzGIl2M

Friday Funnies

September 8th, 2017

In the midst of preparing for Hurricane Irma to arrive, a friend in Boca found it humorous that he had been so concerned for me being in South Dakota with rattlesnakes. This must be the only instance a person would say they were happy to be in a land filled with rattlesnakes instead of being on the beach in South Florida. It made me realize how important humor is at all times – so here are a few more hurricane jokes to keep us smiling while we wait for her arrival:

Q: What did the hurricane say to the palm tree?
A: Hang onto your leaves, this will be no ordinary breeze.

Q: Why do they call some storms Tropical Depressions?
A: Because it’s a storm that is suffering from a “Depression” because it couldn’t become a hurricane.

Q: What do you get if you a cross a card game with a hurricane?
A: Bridge over troubled water.

A hurricane blew across the Caribbean. It didn’t take long for the expensive yacht to be swamped by high waves, sinking without a trace. There were only two survivors: the boat’s owner, Dr. Smythe and the steward, Marcus who managed to swim to the closest island.
After reaching the deserted strip of land, the steward was crying and very upset that they would never be found. Dr. Smythe on the other hand was quite calm, relaxing against a tree.
“Dr. Smythe, Dr. Smythe, how can you be so calm?” cried Marcus. “We’re going to die on this lonely island. We’ll never be discovered here.”
“Sit down and listen to what I have to say, Marcus.” began the confident Dr. Smythe.
“Five years ago, I gave the United Way $500,000 and another $500,000 to my church. I donated the same amounts four years ago. And, three years ago, I did very well in the stock market, so I contributed $750,000 to each. Last year, business was good, so the two charities each got a million dollars.” stated Dr. Smythe.
“So what?” shouted Marcus.
“Well, it’s time for their annual fundraising drives, and I know they’re going to find me!” smiled Dr. Smythe.

Old West Devotions: Branding

September 6th, 2017

What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?   1 Corinthians 6:19

Labor Day marked the unofficial end of Summer, and end of Hymns. Time to move on to devotions. Since my family has always been fascinated by the Old West, I’ve decided to use the West as inspiration.  After all, I’m still in South Dakota waiting for the Great Buffalo Roundup.

I always enjoyed Saturday TV with all those old westerns with the shoot-outs and cattle drives.  I was thinking about those cowboys on their cattle drives recently and about the concept of branding. Branding was originally any visible mark that showed identification for livestock.

When we become Christians, we are in a sense branded for Christ.  He sets His mark on us and sets us apart.  When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, He has ownership of our bodies and us.

Come saddle up with me as we explore this concept over the next several weeks, using some of the objects found in the Old West. 

Sunday in South Dakota: Wounded Knee Museum

September 3rd, 2017

Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, was the site of two conflicts between North American Indians and representatives of the U.S. government. An 1890 massacre left some 15 0Native Americans dead, in what was the final clash between federal troops and the Sioux. In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee for 71 days to protest conditions on the reservation.

Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot, a Lakota Sioux chief, near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it’s unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it’s estimated 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.

The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but, it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it’s unlikely that Big Foot’s band would have intentionally started a fight.

The troubles at Wounded Knee are not over – the wounds are still open for many. It’s a painful part of history, but Americans must remember so this doesn’t happen again.

The Wounded Knee Museum doesn’t only focus on the destruction but about what was destroyed: the rich culture, the intellectual accomplishments, the colorful tradition that was Sioux life. Their heritage, their unique value system, their contributions to the world are what we must remember along with our troubled history. These are the memories that will prompt us to effectively engage in the revitalization of Native American life. http://www.woundedkneemuseum.org/

Notice the collection of nearly 300 simulated eagle feathers suspended from a Lakota Medicine Wheel. Each feather represents a one of the 300 men, women and children killed by Seventh Calvary soldiers on that day.

Remembrance is the secret of redemption.


Friday Funnies

September 1st, 2017

Sometimes the funniest moments are posted all around us. For example:

·        A sign in a shoe repair store in Vancouver that read: “We will heel you. We will save your sole. We will even dye for you.”

·        Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office: “Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”

·        In a Podiatrist’s office: “Time wounds all heels.”

·        On a Septic Tank Truck: “Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels”

·        At an Optometrist’s Office: “If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

·        On a Plumber’s truck : “We repair what your husband fixed.”

·        On another Plumber’s truck: “Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”

·        At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee : “Invite us to your next blowout.”

·        On an Electrician’s truck: “Let us remove your shorts.”

·        In a Non-smoking Area: “If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and will take appropriate action.”

·        On a Maternity Room door: “Push. Push. Push.”

·        At a Car Dealership: “The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

·        Outside a Muffler Shop: “No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”

·        In a Veterinarian’s waiting room: “Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

·        At the Electric Company: “We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time. However, if you don’t, YOU will be de-lighted.”

·        In a Restaurant window: “Don’t stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”

·        In the front yard of a Funeral Home: “Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”

·        At a Propane Filling Station:”Thank Heaven for little grills.”

·        In a Chicago Radiator Shop:”Best place in town to take aleak”

·        And the best one for last…Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck:”Caution – This Truck is full of Political Promises.”



Inspiration: Magic Bank Account

August 30th, 2017

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I read it. This was found in the billfold of Coach Paul Bear from Bryant, Alabama, after he died in 1982

The Magic Bank Account: Imagine that you had won the Following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 In your private account for your use. However, this prize has Rules:

1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.

2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

3. You may only spend It.

4. Each morning upon awakening, The bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that Day.

5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time, it can say, Game Over!” It can close the account And you will not receive a new one.

What would you do? You would buy anything and everything you wanted, right?  Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for.  Even for people you don’t know,
because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, am I right? You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?

This game IS real… Are you shocked?

Each of us is already a winner Of this *PRIZE*. We just can’t seem to see it. The PRIZE is *LIFE*

1. Each morning we awaken to Receive 86,400 seconds As a gift of Life.

2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us

3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.

4. Yesterday is gone forever.

5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING…

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your LIFE, because time races by so much quicker than you think. Be kind to one another.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy LIFE! Start spending….


Sunday in South Dakota: Hot Springs … Again?

August 27th, 2017

Gray dawn swallowed what little light the slowly rising sun was sending over the horizon. Then a silhouette – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, wait, planes aren’t shaped like that. It’s a hot air balloon! If you were anywhere new Hot Springs Municipal Airport this Saturday, you couldn’t help but notice hot air balloons bobbing around the skies.

It was all part of the 2nd Annual Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival in Hot Springs. There were also glider rides and Sidewalk Chalk Art walk in the downtown area. It was a nice event for all ages that I hope will continue to grow with coming years.

But wait. There’s more.

I want you to imagine a place where as far as the eyes can see, miles and miles to the horizon, you can see the plains as it was when American Indians rode freely with manes and tails flying in the wind.

Now imagine this place is real just outside Hot Springs. After the Hot Air Balloon Festival, I drove to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to experience this dream. I wanted to see the horses in their grassland home of rocky canyons, windswept prairie they share with rattle snakes, coyotes, deer and eagles. This sanctuary has given these 700 mustangs freedom in a place where the sky seems to go on forever. It was a very rare pleasure to have a few of these Cortez mustangs eat out of my hand. http://www.wildmustangs.com/

I hope you kick up your heels and let your spirit soar this week!

Friday Funnies

August 25th, 2017

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a man below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man below replied, “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.

“I am,” replied the man, “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help so far.”

The man below responded, “You must be a manager.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know.”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Hymns With a Message: Battle Hymn of the Republic

August 23rd, 2017

After the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, a national service of prayer and remembrance was conducted at Washington’s National Cathedral. America’s most powerful leaders prayed together, listened to brief sermons and then joined voiced to sing the defiant anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Its words seemed to perfectly signal America’s intention to battle the forces of terror in the world.

It was written by Julia Ward Howe, a leader in women’s rights and ardent foe of slavery. Julia, who came from a wealthy New York family, was married to a prominent Boston philanthropist and humanitarian. They were both crusaders for progressive moral issues of the day. In 1861, during the darkest days of the Civil War, Julia toured a nearby Union Army Camp on the Potomac. That very night the words came to her in her hotel room.

These defiant words seem just as perfectly suited to today’s terror as they were to Julia during the Civil War and to leaders in 2001: https://youtu.be/QSiVjlknuSw

Sunday in South Dakota: Historic Hill City

August 20th, 2017

Keep Calm – We Have a Change of Plans. The fair wasn’t operating when I arrived so I drove to Hill City. Sometimes your day ends up different and it ends up (tasting) better that way.

I drove in search of scenic beauty, a bit of history and a good meal. I found all of those while strolling the streets of Hill City, the 2nd oldest town in these Black Hills. The “Heart of the Black Hills” is centrally located to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park within a scenic 15 minutes which is why it’s continued to flourish over the years. Location. Location. Location.

This location is home to many popular art galleries, wonderful restaurants, year round outdoor activities suitable for families and 3 wineries. Speaking of wonderful restaurants, the Alpine Inn, built in 1886, is the historic landmark I chose for lunch. The Alpine Inn has a reputation for ethnic European dishes, and the reputation is well deserved. My lunch was a delicious change of plans. http://www.alpineinnhillcity.com/our-history/

A short walk from the Alpine Inn and I hopped aboard the 1880 Train for a 20-mile ride between Hill City and Keystone. I’ve always been attracted to vintage train rides. The romance of the rails through the Black Hills was a special treat unlike any other attraction in the area, this railroad helped settle the West. Click to watch a short video: https://youtu.be/lonmaxco77Q

Eat, Play & Love the location you’re in.

Friday Funnies

August 18th, 2017

Ahh, the county fair. Is there anything that signals the end of summer more definitively than the smell of fried cotton-candy-wrapped corn dogs and funnel cakes? I’m looking forward to enjoying the Central States Fair this weekend, but only after sharing a couple funny fair fare:

Stumpy took his wife to the State Fair and one of the exhibits is that of breeding bulls.  They went up to the first pen and there was a sign that said, “This bull mated 50 times last year.” Martha poked her husband in the ribs, giggled and said, “He mated 50 times last year.”

They walked a little further and saw another pen with a sign that said, “This bull mated 120 times last year.” Martha hit Stumpy and said, “That’s more than twice a week! You could learn a lot from him.”

They walked further and a third pen had a bull with a sign saying, “This bull mated 365 times last year.” Martha got really excited and said, “That’s once a day. You could REALLY learn something from this one.” Stumpy looked at her and said, “Go up and ask him if it was with the same cow.”

Now Stumpy and his wife Martha went to the State Fair every year. Every year Stumpy would say, “Martha, I’d like to ride in the airplane.” And every year Martha would say, “I know, Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”

This year Stumpy and Martha came out of the bull barn and Stumpy said, “Martha, I’m 71 years old.  If I don’t ride that airplane this year I may never get another chance.” Martha replied, “Stumpy, the airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”

The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride.  If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you, but if you say one word it’s ten dollars.”

Stumpy and Martha agree and up they go.  The pilot does all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard.  He does all his tricks over again, but still not a word.  They land and the pilot turns to Stumpy, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.” Stumpy replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, but ten dollars is ten dollars.”

Hymns With a Message: America, the Beautiful

August 16th, 2017

In 1892, The United States observed the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

As part of the celebration, the city of Chicago sponsored a World’s Fair which carried over to the next year. It was early in the summer of 1893 that a group of professors from Wellesley College visited the Expo on their way to teach in Colorado. The women later compared the wonders of the man-made Fair with the glory of God’s handiwork in the Rockies.

At the end of the school year, the teachers decided to visit Pike’s Peak, elevation 14,000 feet! One of them, Katharine Lee Bates, wrote, “We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse…It was then and there, as I was looking out over the fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind. When we left Colorado Springs the four stanzas were penciled in my notebook. … I copied them out and sent them to print July 4, 1895. The hymn attracted an unexpected amount of attention. In 1904 I rewrote it, trying to make it more simple and direct.”

Katharine’s inspired words are certainly a favorite that resonate my feelings for this vast and diverse nation. “O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!”

I think we need to hear this now: 

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Caverns

August 13th, 2017

It’s not surprising that prospectors in search of gold discovered many of the underground treasures of South Dakota: its caves and caverns. The Black Hills Caverns was discovered in 1882 by a very slender gold seeker crawling into an even smaller hole in the side of a hill. Lakota Indians had found centuries before. Even now the cave is actively explored revealing new wonders in the beautiful underground landscape.

The Black Hills region is famous for its caves. Fifty million years ago, the caves of the Black Hills were formed when underground water dissolved layers of limestone, resulting in huge passageways, spacious cave rooms, and networks of narrow tunnels. As groundwater flowed into the passageways, full of dissolved minerals. One of these minerals, calcium carbonate, deposits crystals onto cave walls and ceilings, resulting in spectacular cave formations. Black Hills Caverns is formed by the “Paha Sapa Limestone” and contains the most complete variety of formations that exist in any cave in the Black Hills.

Black Hills Caverns entrance

Panning sluice outside visitors can try their hand to find gems.

I enjoy exploring caves as nature intended. That means Black Hills Caverns were on my list because they are free of elevators or escalators spoiling its natural beauty like some caverns. While walking sideways, down steps using hand rails and shimmying through narrow crevasses, the caves were different on each level. The tour gave me an idea of what the original explorers experienced, with the cave pathways kept as natural as possible. The cave Temperature remains a refreshing 45-50 degree. It felt fantastic with a long sleeve jacket.

The Black Hills Cavern is as majestic as it is huge with millions of rock formations that can be seen on one of their cave tours. The cavern offers many different types of crystals and formations to see — Popcorn Crystal, Frost Crystal, Stalactites, Soda Straw Stalagmites, Columns, Box Work, Cave Bacon  Dolomite, and the River of Ages is uniquely beautiful Flowstone. There are also fun natural formations that look like a chicken leg, a buffalo, even an alligator… so much to see! The Black Hills Caverns are well worth your time if you’re in the Black Hills area, are capable of climbing 250 steps and are wearing good shoes.

Forming Stalactites and Cave Bacon

Soda Straw Stalagmites

Dogtooth Crystals

Slippery, narrow passageway

Cave Bacon hanging from ceiling

Buffalo formation. The “eye” was created by early miners lantern soot.

Dust covered Frost Crystals

Wishing well near entrance of cave

Alligator rock

Example of early miner graffiti. This shows Ellis and his friends in 1937 prior to Ellis breaking both legs in the cavern. It took his friends 7 hours to get him out. He returned years later at 85 yr-old for a tour.

River of Ages formation created by Flowstone.

Chicken Leg rock.

Fun Facts: The Black Hills Caverns have a room called the chocolate room which is full of dolomite. Dolomite is a chalky natural substance used in Hershey bars. Also, due to the great flood of 1972 the crystal formations are covered in clay dust and not bright white as in the nearby Wonderland Cave. http://www.southdakotacaves.com/


Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.