After living in the state of South Dakota for two years, I finally made a "rapid" trip out west.  All I can say is wow...just wow.

Who knew that so much beauty was just on the other side?! Once you cross the bridge over the Missouri River in Chamberlain, you almost have to question if it's still South Dakota.  But, it is!  You automatically breathe a sigh of relief and allow nature to overcome any stress you may be experiencing. It's comforting and warm like a friendly "hello."

This was my first time visiting the Rapid City/Black Hills area, and I am still in awe of its beauty.  The air was crisper, there was always appears to be something new to explore, and you had a great sense of American pride being surrounded by such overwhelming history.  At least that's how I felt.

I tackled this new adventure with my mom and sister. One of the first places that we stopped at was The Badlands.  It is truly a sight out of a movie, and the welcoming committee even came out of hiding.  Yes, we saw Big Horned Sheep!

I have never seen these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats.  My sister and I tried when we first Estes Park in Colorado, but we weren't as fortunate.  This encounter at The Badlands was totally classified as "beginner's luck."  We ventured into some trails after seeing the sheep.  We did most of our hiking at Badlands on our way back to Sioux Falls.

Horseback riding was another top item on the itinerary for this trip.  My sister, Katie, and I always try to ride horses on vacation.  Roaming around the Black Hills on horseback certainly gives you a different perspective and allows you to visit hidden areas of the hills.

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One of the last (and most important in my opinion) places we went to see was Mount Rushmore.  I finally...finally saw the biggest National Monument in the country.  While visiting the historic site, I could not stop looking at or taking pictures of Mount Rushmore.  I never felt more patriotic than I did while I was there.

I know some South Dakotans say they get tired of seeing Mount Rushmore after just a few visits. Similarly, individuals from Illinois say the same thing about traveling to downtown Chicago.  However, I don't think I would ever get tired of seeing Mount Rushmore.   It's just incredible...there are simply no words to describe it for me!

I wish I had more time on this trip.  I am already so excited for my next journey out west that I've started mentally preparing a list filled with both new and old adventures!

South Dakota...you continue to amaze me.  Thank you for welcoming this city girl into your little slice of paradise!

TRENDING FROM RESULTS-TOWNSQUARE SIOUX FALLS:

10 Really Strange Things That Are Still Illegal in South Dakota

Even though these laws are rarely ever enforced nowadays, they still are on the books in South Dakota. Here are the Ten Commandments of South Dakota Law:


Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

The 6 Types of South Dakota Drivers You Deal With Every Winter

Every year it snows in Sioux Falls. We may live in denial during the spring and summer, but it happens.

When the snow falls on the Falls, life in the city does not stop. We all still have to go to work, school, and the liquor store...um I mean go get snacks.

When you tackle the snowy routes around town you tend to run across six types of drivers in the snow.