Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in Wyoming: Sundance Winter Festival & Devils Tower

February 18th, 2018

This weekend I joined the Ski-Joring fun as a cowboy on a galloping horse pulled a skier down Sundance’s Main Street through an obstacle course complete with snow jumps. No joke! Later on I witnessed creative locals compete with a barstool and an old pair of skis in the wild and wooly Downhill Barstool Races. What people won’t do to beat the winter blues.

Sundance! Let the name spark your imagination of days long ago when rowdy cowboys whooped it up on Saturday nights or perhaps you envision serene Native American villages camped at the base of the Sundance Mountain where they performed their sacred Sun Dance ceremonies. This historic town welcomes visitors to come and explore the rich history and soak in the vibrant vistas where the beauty of the rugged west comes alive. This weekend it’s the 4th Annual Sundance Winter Festival and had sledding for the kids, food vendors raising money for mission trips and live entertainment at the pubs. I’m looking forward to other year-round events.

Nearby is Devil’s Tower National Monument standing 867 feet and not to be missed. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”. The first time I saw Devils Tower I was a child, traveling with my parents. I don’t remember if they told me about it; I just saw it as we came around a curve in the road. I was dumbstruck and pretty much still feel the same way today.

According to the Native American tribes of the Lakota, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the Pleiades.  There are similar versions from the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes.

In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. I will NOT be attempting this activity.

Let the adventures begin! 

Sunday in South Dakota: Journey of Friendship

February 11th, 2018

The dictionary’s definition of a good friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. A real friend is there when you are struggling and need someone you can count on when times are tough. A true friend is someone difficult to find. I am incredibly fortunate to have such people in my life and I can only hope I’m as honorable of a friend as they are to me.

My friends are in various places, both geographically and economically. What makes these friendships so rare and precious is that they are trustworthy people, we’ve listened to each other through the years, we’ve offered good advice and support to each other when needed. Most of all we eat until stuffed and laugh until we cry together.

With technology today, I can keep in close contact with my friends. I deeply appreciate that while saying “goodbye for now” they demonstrated our friendship in special ways, each giving me their hearts, without resentment of my excitement over moving to Rapid City, SD and all the fresh opportunities that come along with the move. I know that they miss me as much as I miss them, but they want me to do well and will always be looking out for me. I am honestly humbled in this moment. (PS: I’m sorry I didn’t get photos of my neighbor John the best neighbor I ever wanted, Pam who has been a longtime friend and took sure good care of my things, Bob my mailman who has also been my personal favorite baker, Lenny who I always enjoy visiting, Andrea who I unexpectedly ran into at the Morikami, Valli & Paul, Bridget & her family, and Jack all of whom I wasn’t able to visit with for different reasons, Howard my movie buddy and Maria whose photo I took and lost. I also failed to photograph my Sisters & Brothers at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and the folks at the YMCA that opened their arms and welcomed me as if I’d never been absent. I thank you all.)

Take care of your friendships and commit to love them and hold them close as a most precious jewel.  

Bill Ross

Irina Veselovskaya

Jodi Pascuzzi: recruiter extraordinaire

New friend Mark Laliberte

B. Michael Paschkeyes

Patricia

Richie D’Angelo

William Murry

Last look at Atlantic Ocean

New beginning – thank you for all your well wishes

Dear friends Alexandre & Elaine

Sunday in South Florida: A Moving Experience

February 3rd, 2018

After living in South Florida for nearly two decades, I felt I would always return here to my friends and the ocean and the wetlands and the food and the …. You get the point. This whimsical coastal area is home, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought until a few months ago when everything changed. That’s when I realized I would be leaving my friends and moving to South Dakota. NOT temporarily traveling, but actually putting down roots in a new community.

It came time for visits and saying my goodbyes to all the people that I have known and loved in this community for 15+ years and its bittersweet. We’ll keep in touch, however that’s not the same as looking in each other’s eyes and laughing together at a movie or over a plate of chicken livers.

My friends and I have shared many grand adventures exploring unique nature and great restaurants across Palm Beach county. This week I have indulged in a few including visits to Johnny Mangoes, Gumbo Limbo, Fran’s Chicken Haven, Green Cay and Wakodahatchee.

Fran’s Chicken Haven – no frills, just good food

 

 

Bromeliad

Green Cay Nature Center overlooks 100 acres of manmade wetlands with 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to enjoy the migratory birds and alligators safely. This is the 2nd constructed wetlands after Wakodahatchee opened in 1996 with ¾ mile boardwalk that crosses pond areas and is prime breeding area for wood storks. Each day, the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps approximately two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wetlands, which in turn acts as a percolation pond, returning billions of gallons of fresh water back into the water table. I’ve put many miles in at both locations of the years with family & friends. http://discover.pbcgov.org/waterutilities/Pages/Wakodahatchee.aspx

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is another natural gem in Palm Beach County. This coastal preserve and training center covers 20 acres and is surrounded by a rare remnant of tropical hardwood hammock, located on a barrier island in Boca Raton. The preserve has changed much over the years and once included a tower that you could climb and view both the ocean and intracoastal waterway. Today the focus is mainly on sea turtle protection and includes a turtle hospital and release program. It’s a fun and informative place for families to enjoy. http://www.gumbolimbo.org/

I’ll be visiting Morikami with a dear friend next week, but I want to include it in today’s post. Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a very special treasure in Delray Beach, Florida. I consistently maintained a membership and watched it expand into a premier destination founded on century old farmland owned by a Japanese colony that intended to revolutionize Florida agriculture. When it didn’t come to fruition many returned to Japan while Morikami stayed behind to fulfill his vision. Today the 1-acre park has strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection, and lakes teaming with koi. I enjoy how each area flows into the next seamlessly while walking. It’s a very special place. https://morikami.org/

Moving is change. Change is difficult for most people. But I believe this move is going to be the experience of my lifetime. And I’m going to continue to encourage each of you to love one another and explore your outdoors.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Stock Show

January 28th, 2018

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Stock Show

Rapid City became home to cowboys, horses, and wild western action during this weekend’s 60th Annual Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. Some people might have hopped  a plane for Florida uesterday, but I’m sorry, I was NOT going to miss the Stock Show. The stock show is the 2nd largest event in the state of South Dakota behind the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Did I mention there are cowboys & horses involved?!

During the Stock Show weekend the Old West comes to town when area ranchers and cowboys came to town to compete in ten different breeds of cattle shows, rodeos and 14 different horse events. Honestly, I swear there was something for everyone and all ages including concerts. In a town who’s motto is “Do Big Things” this stock show is a BIG thing! And I am already looking forward to next year when I have more time to browse the booths and see more shows. A person could buy everything from chaps to saddles to full length ranch coats. So interesting.

In 1958, members of the Rapid City Chamber Ag Committee had a meeting at Rapid City Laundry to discuss a plan for a stock show that would incorporate rural lifestyles into the urban community of Rapid City. At that time only 12% of the population lived on farms or ranches and locals feared that someday ranchers would be an endangered species. With the hopes of protecting agriculture communities and lifestyles, planners made a commitment to preserve the western heritage in the state of South Dakota.

There was plenty of excitement, after all people needed something to do during the winter. Ranch wives shopped the vendors, along with demonstrations on cooking and sewing. The men were able to look at quality livestock and socialize with other people in the industry. Over 140 head of cattle were shown in the unheated buildings.

Today, the traditions of the Black Hills Stock Show continue with 10 breeds of cattle sales, a Truck Defender 2-day horse sale, the Hutchison Western Stallion Row along with over 300 vendors, and seminars to encourage both livestock producers, horse enthusiasts and the city folk to enjoy the western extravaganza.

I think ranchers are here to stay!

Look at the boots

2009 Rapid City Stock Show

Sunday in South Dakota: Custer State Game Lodge Hike

January 14th, 2018

This weekend guided hike started at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center at Custer State Park. It was meant to be a snowshoe hike, but there wasn’t enough snow. No worries, I still looked forward to experiencing the solitude of winter in Custer State Park However there were approximately 100 others as we hiked on a trail overlooking Game Lodge Campground. The hike was a two miles long trail that parallels Grace Coolidge Creek and is geared toward the basics of identifying bobcat and mountain lion tracks in the snow.

The trail took us to the eastern limit of the Custer fire where we were given a lesson about the recent fires which were still smoldering and smelled horrible. Sadly 10 Bison had to be put down due to burns to their eyes and mouths. The remaining herd is being fed hay since the grasses they normally forge was burned by the 12 foot high flames. They require 20 large circular bales a day! Did I mention the area still smells? It’s an awful stench that is expected to be around until Spring revival. While the fire was devastating to the landscape, renewal and regeneration is at work under a blanket of healing snow.

Custer State Game Lodge: https://custerresorts.com/lodges-and-cabins/state-game-lodge/

Bobcat Tracks

Fire scorched trees. Trees will be left if only 70% burnt.

Our guide for the day

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Badlands in Winter

December 24th, 2017

The Badlands of South Dakota are a winter playground that drew me in for many reasons. I quickly realized it’s a great time to experience another side of the region, an all-seasons wonderland. The beautiful natural landscapes were made breathtaking with a light dusting of snow. What could be better? Having the entire park almost completely to yourself! The serenity of this magical landscape resting beneath a clean blanket of snow creates a passion for a Black Hills winter.

Several lookout stops gives a great view of changing scenery. There are trails to walk through the formations. Take as much or as little time as you like, it’s gorgeous either way and any season.

Keep Calm and Love the Winter – Merry Christmas!

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Christmas Caroling

December 10th, 2017

Listening to Christmas music is one of the iconic ways to celebrate the season.  And families get jolly by singing Christmas carols, so I couldn’t think of a better way to get into the Christmas spirit then by singing and listening to Christmas music. This afternoon I gathered with church friends and went to a local nursing home to sing Christmas carols.

The aides and nurses wheeled the residents into the lobby where we were going to sing.  It was just a lovely holiday experience.  I especially enjoyed seeing a few of the residents sing with us.  There is something about singing while someone is singing to you at the same time.  Combine that with the fact that they were songs about the birth of Jesus, what a marvelous feeling in that room!

After caroling I attended a Christmas dinner and Cantio Flute Quartet concert at St. Andrews Episcopal with friends. What a distinctive Christmas gala of lively conversation and favorite Christmas music. http://cantioflutes.com/

I hope you find ways to enjoy this luminous Christmas season.  Let Christmas be a happy time; let music fill the air with chime and joyful songs galore.

Sunday in South Dakota: Homestake Opera House Festival of Trees

December 3rd, 2017

Lead’s historic Homestake Opera House invited the public to attend the kickoff event of the Christmas season – the 2017 Festival of Trees Vintage Holiday Celebration. This event is the oldest of its kind in the Black Hills, the original festival was hosted in 1982 in the “Theater Built by a Gold Mine.” It didn’t take long to see why it has continued as a popular Christmastime event in the mining community.

The Lead Opera House & Recreation Center was built in 1914 as a gift from the Homestake Mining company to the people of Lead and the surroundings communities. Phoebe Hearst, widow of Homestake co-founder George Hearst, played a major role in the facilities conception. Once a useful public entertainment and cultural center, the Opera House was hit with a disastrous fire in 1984. The beautiful building is being resurrected to productive use for the enrichment of the community at this time.

Spirits were bright amidst the charmingly decorated theater, while visitors enjoyed free cocoa, hot apple cider and cookies while touring the heavily decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and unique items for auction. The trees and wreathes were donated by opera house supporters from local Black Hills communities. http://www.homestakeoperahouse.org/

Cowboy and calf photo on canvas auction item.

Restored area of lobby

Horses in winter painting in auction. Beautiful

Homestake Opera House lobby

Homestake Opera House

Historic piano and instruments used prior to the 1984 fire that destroyed the opera house

Homestake Opera House lobby

May your season be festive and bright!

Sunday in South Dakota: Hiking Spearfish Canyon

November 26th, 2017

Some people like to wear masks and hit each other with sticks and call if fencing. As for me, I am enjoying hiking. Hiking is an excuse to be outdoors surrounded by the smells and sounds of Mother nature. There’s something about being on the trail wherever I am, feeling the wind brush against my skin and the world seems to come to a standstill, that keeps me going back outside for more. This weekend I found a couple great local hikes near Spearfish, South Dakota.

If you don’t have much time to hike while you’re visiting Spearfish Canyon, I would like to encourage you to put Spearfish Falls on your list. At only ¾ mile long it isn’t too strenuous. The hike descends 110 feet of wide pathway. It is a wonderful place to stretch your legs while soaking in the beauty of the canyon floor. And this is just one of the waterfalls of Spearfish Canyon.

Across the street is parking for Roughlock Falls 1-mile Nature Trail that I took after getting warmed up on Spearfish Falls. (Warmed up is a relative term when the temperature was 28 degrees F.)

Roughlock would be a great place for wildlife enthusiast to hike. Located in Spearfish Canyon it’s considered one of the most beautiful locations in the Black Hills. This trail is easily-accessible and winds its way slowly to a breathtaking waterfall that flows into Spearfish Canyon from Little Spearfish.

Fun Trivia: Spearfish Canyon is where Dances with Wolves final winter scene took place. The site can be found just north of Roughlock Falls in the Black Hills National Forest.

Enjoy

Sunday in South Dakota: Lille Norge Fest

November 19th, 2017

Whether you’re a local, new in town, or just passing through, you’ll be sure to find something to pique your interest at this weekend’s Lille Norge Fest in Rapid City.

My high school years were spent in Jamestown, North Dakota where many of the locals were Norwegian. After arriving in Rapid City, it didn’t take long to realize that the Dakotas share that heritage and there’s a lot more to being Norwegian than just Ole jokes and Lutefisk.

This weekend the Sons of Norway hosted their annual Lille Norge Fest at the Borgland Lodge. Crowds of people wearing Norwegian sweaters and bunads (traditional Norwegian outfits) were savoring fresh lefse, krumkake, and rosettes. For a region rich with Norwegian ancestry, this annual festival is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, featuring Nordic cuisine, cultural entertainment, dancing and handcrafted gifts.

The Rapid City Lille Norge Fest was founded in 1973 to promote and preserve Norwegian culture in America. It was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours getting into the holiday spirit with Norwegian flair and Lefse. (They ran out of Lutefisk before I went through the line. Maybe next weekend)

 

Whatever you do this week – do it with flair.

Sunday in Michigan: Fall

October 29th, 2017

The colors, the crisp air, the light… fall is a fabulous season. And life is a series of memories, and bonding with your family. With fall schools are back in session and cooler temperatures are moving in, meaning Fall is the perfect time to browse a local bookstore, indulge your taste buds at a cupcake shop, explore an aquarium or even a day trip to a pumpkin patch.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s all about being together because you want to. Fall fun is about creating heartfelt memories to reflect upon in years to come. Build some memories this week.

            

Sunday in South Dakota: Rapid City Powwow

October 8th, 2017

Colorful finery, elaborate feather work and intricate beadwork describe the visual atmosphere of a powwow. Spirited drumming and singing filled the air as dancers complete their fancy footwork. The Black Hills Powwow has become one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States and features competitions in categories such as traditional, fancy and jingle-dress dancing. 

Dances are either for men or women, with dancers moving in a clockwise direction which represents the circle of unity and the never-ending cycle of life. Singers are usually between the audience and the dance arena. Powwow singers and drummers play a very important part of the celebration, providing rhythm for the dancers. They sing many types of songs, including honor and family, war and conquest, songs of joy, encouragement, humor and mourning. Attire worn by a dancer is called regalia and often takes years to create and may include gifts which have deep meaning.

During this preeminent three-day event spectators can enjoy a fine arts show, He Sapa Win pageant, wellness symposium for youth, and tournaments for hand games, softball, golf, and archery.

Catch the spirit at the many celebrations across your state.

Sunday in South Dakota: Crazy Horse Volksmarch

October 1st, 2017

The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a rare chance to hike 10K through woodlands and scramble up hill to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. This is the most popular Volksmarch, attracting 15,000 walkers – including me.

The first time I went to Crazy Horse, I only viewed it from the visitor center. I didn’t realize how much I missed. Today’s hike was rocky, it was hilly and worth every strained breath, just to experience standing on Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm for a once in a lifetime view of his face.

Along the way hikers were teased by sneak peeks of the mountain carving through the trees, every time just a little bit closer. In the end, the view was outrageous. The level of detail put in his facial features we suddenly visible that can’t have been seen from the visitors center.

Cell phone tower in disguised as a pine tree.

Participating in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch as it is still in progress, is like wishing I could have seen the great pyramids being built. This is history in the making – and I was there. I stood on his outstretched arm! Even if you’re only able to ride up to the base, I highly recommend seeing the Crazy Horse monument from a different point of view, enjoy the fresh air and being surrounded by the natural beauty of the area.

View of Crazy Horse campus and parking areas from Crazy Horse

If Crazy Horse is ever completed, won’t it be amazing to see? And I’ll be able to tell the grandkids how I stood on his arm before he was finished. Amazing.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: 52nd Annual Buffalo Roundup

October 1st, 2017

“Feel the earth tremble.” People told me when I was encouraged to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup. The earth trembled as I felt I was transported to a scene from “Dances with Wolves” as the hooves of 1,200 massive buffalo shook the rolling prairie as they streamed over the hill while herdsmen on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting.

The entire Custer State herd galloped by only a few hundred feet from my seat. Can you believe it?! Once the buffalo are safely in the corrals, spectators watch as real-life cowboys sort, brand, test, and treat the herd. Certain animals were selected for the fall auction. This is a public event you can’t experience anywhere else – and attracts more than 17,000 people each year!

Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup was started 52 years ago as a way to manage the herd and ensure there’s enough grass for all the animals. This keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. Once on the verge of extinction, today there are about 500,000 buffalo across North America.

First buffalo sighting of the morning while driving into Custer State Park.

This buffalo showed up early and wandered around the field waiting for his brothers

I don’t know how they managed to feed pancakes to this crowd! It was very well managed and the pancakes were huge.

Custer State Park’s rolling prairies are beautiful

The crowds were entertaining and jovial

This buffalo didn’t get counted.

Neither did this one!

As if a thundering herd of massive wild animals isn’t enough, an Arts Festival is held the same weekend at the Custer State Game Lodge offering food, entertainment, and art booths for the visitors.

This is a Western experience I’ll never forget and will provide great storytelling to anyone willing to listen. If you’re unable to make it, you can put on your hat and watch these short videos from last year’s roundup in the comfort of your home: 1 minute video https://youtu.be/61xtwlEkngQ  the 10 minute video is like you’re there! https://youtu.be/91JoWjpIZS4

 

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

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.

 

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!

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.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.