Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Black Hills of South Dakota

Along our trip out west (mostly just to Minnesota) we decided to take a couple days and go spend some time at a friend's ranch in South Dakota. For me, it was the farthest west I've been and I was able have some new experiences there: riding a horse, 4-wheeling, swimming in the watering hole (well, I didn't swim, but I did go in) and going out in the Ranger (3-seater  4-wheeler) up into the hills.

These were the cowboy's horses. They all came trotting out to greet us as we walked towards them! 

I think my man looks good in a cowboy hat, don't you?

Karl bonding with the horses. They were quite gassy (have you ever heard a horse pass gas? oof da!).

This is the cattle corral that Karl and Adam built one summer during college. They also have a lot of cattle on this ranch but they mostly roam free in the hills. This corral is used for organizing and separating the cattle when they are being branded, inoculated, or being prepared for market. 

If you look closely, you can see their initials "AN" and "KR" carved into one of the railroad ties they used for the posts.

These are called cattle grates. Basically if you have these, you don't need a gate to keep the cattle out. You can drive and walk across them, but cattle won't because their feet will slip in between the wide gaps. Pretty ingenious, huh?

Walking off to the stables and additional corrals.

Outside the cabin, the had this wonderful outdoor fireplace. Beautiful, I think.

Antlers from hunts.

The cabin! (the fireplace is on an extended patio to the right)

Adam loosening the reins and showing me how much slack I should have.

The guys on the horses.

We went out for a ride: me on the 4-wheeler, and they guys on horses.

Out for a ride with a couple cattle.

At the watering hole! The splash is Karl.

Out in the Ranger! It was a true South Dakota safari.

Some of the damage from the fire a couple years ago.

The only right way to end the day- a steak and potatoes meal.

Some of the ranch buildings at sunset.

The setting sun (picture taken by Karl)

The sunset was pretty spectacular- neither one of these photos capture how dramatic it really was.

Next post: Mount Rushmore!

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