|Waiting to go inside the caves.|
The tours are only through a very small portion of the Wind Caves. On the map, they’re expansive! Stacey, Heather, Ethan, Becca and Diana went on a “Highlights” tour that took the elevator to the two main rooms. It only took about 15 minutes and the tour guide/Ranger wasn’t all that into it, but we asked a lot of questions and the natural A/C sure felt good! I’m not sure how much Ethan and Becca got out of it, but we were all glad to be included. Ethan especially liked a picture of a horse in the Visitor’s Center. He kept going back to it saying something that sounded like "shoshey" for 'horsey.' :) We were in there for a long time waiting for everyone else to get done.
Geoff and the rest of the family went on the “Natural Entrance” tour. It was a total of 300 steps down and they were often quite steep and narrow. At the maximum depth, we were down 200 feet under the ground. The ceilings were rather low in spots and Geoff hit his head several times in the course of the whole hike. Landon had a good time as did Emily, but Gracie kept complaining that it was creepy. It was about 1 ¼ hour hike total and was 53 degrees in the cave. Unique to the Wind Cave were Box Work and Popcorn. Box work is when the bedrock cracks and other minerals seep into the cracks and then the continuous water erodes away the bedrock and just leaves the mineral deposits. Popcorn comes out sideways instead of dripping down. It looks like round little balls of popcorn clinging to the side walls.
After the cave, we had lunch at the park in Hot Springs. The kids ran through the sprinklers that were on. Landon got soaked to the skin. A school group came in a short bus and it said Shannon County on the side. :)
We had yummy tinfoil dinners at the campground after the kids built a dam across the creek at Uncle Geoff’s prompting. All of the kids were soaked, but proud. And the slower water attracted some tiny little fish that the kids had fun spotting.
We had one cabin the first night and then moved to a different cabin to stay the rest of the nights in. It is the perfect size to snuggle up in; the double bed for Mom and Dad, the top bunk for the middle girls to share, the single bed for Becca with Landon at her feet and Ethan in the port-a-crib on the floor. The A/C is quite nice and provides some great white noise that seems to help Becca a lot. It is not right next to everyone else, which is a little bit hard walking back and forth to grab forgotten items, but the sleep value makes up for it! It has been worth every extra penny. We didn't take any actual pictures of it, so I'll include some from their website: Custer State Park.
|The scenery really is this gorgeous! Our porch was a little smaller, but faced a pretty little creek.|
|Top bunk for Emily and Gracie, plus a little table right next to the door.|
|Twin bed on the other side for Becca and Landon with the port-a-crib up against it for a barrier. And there's that wonderful little A/C unit! Life saver for sure!|