Day Five: Good Morning South Dakota

After a good nights rest, up for cleaning and breakfast.  We heading into Keystone for some panning for gold at the Big Thunder Gold Mine. There was a tour of the mine and very informative session of the process of separating the gold from the rest of the rock and ore. And then to panning on our own.  The process is tedious and time consuming; it requires a lot of patience.  We panned for approximately an hour and achieved a few “tiny nuggets.”  However, the experience was enlightening and to say the least interesting.

Next up, we adventured to the “Crazy Horse Monument”.  This monument is privately funded.  The model was built by and the carving  started by Korczak Ziolkowski; his family is continuing his work.  The carving is just a part, largely however, of the entire complex.  Included is a Native American University, museum of the carving history and artifacts, Native American artifacts, history, stories, and continuing expositions of Native Culture.  Lunch at the “Laughing Water Restaurant” was excellent, as included in the menu are Indian based meals including stew, bread, and such.  They are keeping the history of the Native American Indians in the forefront and ensuring that the memories of Crazy Horse active and alive.

Continuing to be adventurous, we next explored the “Wonderland Caverns”.  This is a nature cave founded in 1929 and explored by two(2) brothers in the search of gold; difficult actually impossible to find in limestone.  Not to be discouraged the discovered many natural phenomena’s in rock underground rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites and others.  Once entering the cave and gazing around listening to our tour guide information and history, down the steps. Well not just down, but down, down, down one hundred fifty (150) steep stair steps. Nature is quite amazing.

Back to the campground for supper, rest, and you guest it game time.  Don’t let me forget to mention the lightening storm which included hail, no major damage.

By Hugh Pinckard

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