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Recent Trip to South Dakota

Discussion in 'Photo Album' started by TerryMiller, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    Wife helped on this trip. She used my new Nikon Z6 mirrorless SLR to take photos, and I used my Nikon D850. We took some pictures as we were going up through Nebraska because we were seeing some pretty nice Fall colors.

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    Did you know that Nebraska has two National Forests? One of them is touted as the largest "man planted" forest in the U.S. We took a short side trip to the Nebraska National Forest where we found a fire watch tower that one is allowed to climb. This photo was taken from there.

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    It was interesting to actually see the boundaries of the trees.

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    We also ran across an interesting bridge. This one is apparently the only one of its kind in the U.S.

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    This bridge is just one of three bridges across the Niobrara River in this area. The historic bridge was taken as we drove across the bridge for Highway 20 south of Valentine, NE. The third bridge within that 3/4 mile "range" is a railroad bridge.
     
  2. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    On to South Dakota and first off are pictures at and around Mount Rushmore.

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    Approaching the Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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    Of course, an iconic photo of the faces and flags.

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    We walked around the Presidential Trail there at Mount Rushmore and got different perspectives of the figures.

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    We were then surprised to see a Mountain Goat nanny and her kid.

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  3. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    After our time at Mount Rushmore, we headed west and drove down what is called the Needles Highway. (The official designation is South Dakota Highway 87.) It is called the Needles Highway because of the spires that are along the route.

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    We were also blessed with seeing wildlife as well. Wife got this one as we drove by.

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    Then, a little further along, we came up behind a line of about 5 or 6 cars pulled over to the side. We drove on by them and the wife got these photos as well. It was the largest group of Rocky Mountain Bighorns that I've ever seen. (But then, in spite of many years of vacations in the mountains, I've not been blessed with seeing them very often.) Before we got off of the Needles Highway, we were again blessed to see Bison and more Bighorns. In those cases, which was near some kind of pavilion thing or something, we saw 3 Bison lying around and a number of Bighorn ewes. That's when I stopped and got out my Nikon D810 with the 200-500mm lens.

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    There are a few tunnels along the route, all of which are one lane tunnels. Here is one with a car just starting into the tunnel. (By the way, this road is NOT RV friendly. Don't even try it unless it is a small one in both width and height.)

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    And, some more color.

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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  4. xjer

    xjer Sharpshooter

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    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    The Needles Highway runs roughly from the Mount Rushmore area and down into Custer State Park. In addition to the Needles Highway, there is also the Iron Mountain Road that runs from Custer State Park back up to the Mount Rushmore area. Its highway designation is U.S. 16A. This road also has single lane tunnels. Looking through two of those tunnels, one can see the figures on Mount Rushmore framed by the walls of the tunnels.

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    In addition to the natural beauty, in constructing the highway, they put in a couple of "Pigtail Bridges" where one crosses a bridge and then loops around to go under it. (That is, if one is traveling North on the highway as we were.) The construction of the bridges was kind of neat as well.

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    We also got to see wildlife along the Iron Mountain Road, but those were just some deer.
     
  6. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    Don't worry about breaking up a story. I went to answer it earlier, but you must have already deleted it while I was still viewing, and the forum wouldn't let me respond.

    It is a beautiful area, and even though we drove through some areas, we came nowhere close to getting through all of the Black Hills, which is where Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway, and the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (photos to come for Spearfish Canyon) are located.

    As for the lens setups. The Nikon Z6 has the 24-70mm f/4 S lens. My Nikon D850 was used primarily with the Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. With photos taken of the Bison and Bighorn ewes, I used the Nikon D810 with the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 lens. In an upcoming series of photos, we also went to Devil's Tower in NE Wyoming and walked the 1.3 mile Tower Trail that circles the Tower. On that excursion, I used the D850 and 28-300 lens and the D810 with the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens.

    On the way back from Devil's Tower, we drove the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.
     
  7. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    As one is driving down Highway 87, the Needles Highway, after entering Custer State Park one finds Sylvan Lake. There is a trail around the lake that is about a mile in length, so the wife and I took that trail. And yes, once again I've proved physics wrong...this lake also leans.

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    Here's one the wife took, which includes a very rare photo of a fellow know on OSA for taking photos. I'm more impressed with the wall of rock to the left.

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    Another one of that fellow.

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  8. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    Sticking with the Black Hills area, I'll get our sequence of travel out of kilter a bit. The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway was taken on our way back from Devil's Tower. In some later posts, I'll post photos of the Tower and our trip to the Badlands National Park.

    The Scenic Byway is designated as "Alternate Highway 14" and runs south of Spearfish. The colors were pretty good, and I was impressed with the canyon itself.

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    One has to be somewhat amazed at the number of waterfalls around the country that are called "Bridal Veil Falls." This one is South Dakota's.

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    Just some small falls along Spearfish Creek.

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    Old electric plant.

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  9. TerryMiller

    TerryMiller Sharpshooter

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    After the Black Hills excursions of Mount Rushmore, Needles Highway, and Iron Mountain Road, we took the next day (Tuesday) to go to NE Wyoming and visit Devil's Tower. While we had been by there earlier in the Summer during our work gig up there, it was on a weekend and was just too crowded for us to feel comfortable with leaving the work van unattended. So, we told ourselves that we would come back at another time. At the time, we had planned a vacation (which had to be canceled because of another assignment) to see South Dakota, Devil's Tower, and then on to Yellowstone with our youngest son.

    Since none of that came about, the wife and I just decided we'd just make this trip to South Dakota and then back home. So, we got our second chance at Devil's Tower, this time on a week day.

    Around the Tower Trail circling the Tower, there are a number of placards that give the "scientific" explanation of how the tower was formed. But, I guess I just like the Native American versions more than the scientific. There are a number of different versions listed at Wikipedia, but I like the one of the girls escaping the bears best.

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    At some point in the history of the Tower, some locals had climbed the tower with the use of wooden ladders that were fastened in some way to the rock. At one point around the Tower Trail, there are some "scopes" with which one is supposed to be able to see where the ladder is left. There is no way that one can pick out the ladder through either of those "scopes." This photo was taken with my D850 and the 28-300mm lens zoomed out to 300mm.

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    One can see the ladder towards the center of the photo and towards the bottom.
     
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  10. crrcboatz

    crrcboatz Sharpshooter

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    Wife and I have about 6-8 pics of the same setup! They let her get probably 15 feet from them and never spooked!
     

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