Posted by: gravessack | June 24, 2011

A Trip to the Black Hills And Beyond

This past week, I flew to Colorado and then drove from there to the Black Hills of South Dakota. While in Denver, I went to Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. Though the view of the field is very nice and similar to the view at Target Field, being at Coors Field was a pretty different experience.

First, it took about an hour to get to the field because of the very bad traffic and because the signage was poor. Because we were about 25 minutes late, the ushers had given our seats to elderly people who had not been given appropriate seating. It was uncomfortable asking them to move. This was my least favorite thing about Coors Field because I felt like the ushers didn’t know what they were doing, unlike at Target Field, where the ushers are specifically trained. When we got food, the lines were extremely long, especially compared to Target Field, where the lines can’t be longer than 10 minutes. The food service was disorganized, too. One good thing about Coors Field is that it is very accessible, like Target Field, mostly because of its wide concourses. And the Rockies won! However, Target Field is an improvement over Coors Field, mainly because of the staff and service.

The next day, I went to the Black Hills. There, just outside our lodge, was an enormous buffalo! I visited Mount Rushmore where the audio guided tour of the mountain was all accessible except for a little part of the President’s Trail. That night, I went to the Mount Rushmore night show, which might have been my favorite part of visiting the mountain. There was a video and the faces of the four presidents were illuminated. This was completely accessible.

The next day, I visited Crazy Horse, which was also wheelchair accessible. The Crazy Horse memorial seemed a little disorganized, as we had to walk around on our own to see things, like different pieces of Native American art and the sculptor’s studios. The carving of Crazy Horse will take many years to complete, but it will be beautiful when it is finished. We also visited Sylvan Lake, which has a huge rock dam and an accessible walking path around much of the lake.

Next, I visited the Badlands National Park. You can drive through the park, or there are a few hiking trails. The wildlife in the Badlands is primarily buffalo, prairie dogs, and rattlesnakes. The drive offers many vistas that offer gorgeous views of the Badlands. You can park next to and walk to these vistas. The entire park is accessible (but watch your step for rattlesnakes!).

I had a great time on this trip. My favorite part was probably seeing a buffalo right outside our lodge. You don’t see that everyday! I also really liked Mount Rushmore, especially the night show. In terms of accessibility, I would recommend the Black Hills. It is truly a beautiful place!

Written by: Sam Graves



  1. Nice article. Sign me up for the next Graves tour!

  2. Good job Sam. Can you imagine, 100-years ago those folks riding up on horseback or horse pulled wagon and seeing the badlands the first time. It might’ve felt like we feel when we ran into a curb but the closest curb cut is 100 miles south; should we go south or should we go home? They didn’t give up they went south. Is there a lesson for us there? 
    Keep pushing, Sam!

  3. I am thrilled to say I was with Sam on this outstanding vacation. Being accessible made it so relaxing. Sam and I sat on the patio at Sylvan lake and played Racko while there were many activities all around us. What fun.
    Sorry about the Rockies seating problem, but we survived and the Rockies won. I would recommend this trip and if you have a grandson to go with you it is a real bonus. Thanks Sam and family!

  4. I wish that i would have been on this trip with you, it all sounds very exciting. I am glad that you liked the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a beautiful vacation spot, It sounds like you got a close up look of the buffalo. Good for you.

    We love watching Twins baseball, Target Field looks like a beautiful baseball field and it is great that you get to go to some Twins games. You got to do some comparing of Target Field and Coors Field.

    Thanks for sharing your vacation with us Sam….good job.

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