The days of summer are winding down here in the Dakotas. The sun has finally started setting at a time that I’m accustomed to and I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the last of the 90-degree days. At least a third of the seasonal employees have already checked out of their apartments to return to school or other jobs and the rest of us are going to hang on for another month. I still can’t believe how much I’ve been able to see and do in the short amount of time I’ve been here. From riding horses to flying over the park to hiking new highpoints; I simply could not have asked for more adventure this summer. And to add to the list, Jacob and I plan to get another highpoint point this weekend on our way to Minneapolis where we’ll watch a Twins game. Anyway, here are some photos from the last few weeks.

A pronghorn (often mistaken as antelope) let us get close and personal during a hike.

Gelatin, anyone?

Dave (left), Sam (middle) and me on a long hike.

An area in the park called Wind Canyon has formations that look like a giant brontosaurus jaw bone to me.

Unfortunately, Fantastic Mr. Fox (my car) is out of commission for a while. His CV-axles ‘fell off’.

I finally made it back to the Rapid City area in SD to hike the highpoint. We chose the long trail from the north side (a 10-mile yo-yo that left from a horse camp in the Black Elk Wilderness). The weather was perfect and we only passed one other hiker along with some people on horseback.

When we stopped for a water break a deer buck wandered right up our path and passed within 10 feet of us, completely unafraid.

The first thing the boys did when we reached the summit was crack open a couple of beers.

Highpoint #25: Harney Peak, SD on July 30, 2010

Some photos of us hanging out on the lookout tower.

After descending the highpoint, we headed to Mt. Rushmore to park the car. Cody guided us to his favorite camping spot in the wilderness about a mile from the monument. We actually had a nice view of the heads between the trees there at camp. We got up early the next morning, packed up, and I snapped this before leaving the boys to get a head start on the hike back to the car.

While I was waiting for them near the car, I spotted a beaver!

Later in the evening we met up with Cody’s friend for beer and pizza. We were able to sleep on the floor at his place before heading back to ND.

We get some pretty crazy storms out here and sometimes they are followed by rainbows and sunsets!

This is just before Jacob took us flying.

We flew over the town that we live in.

And we managed to find a herd of bison (black dots) hanging out on a prairie dog town (white patches).

Highpoint #26: White Butte, ND on August 27, 2010 (It was really windy and you can see my hair flying everywhere!)

Here are some views from the highpoint.

I’m no geologist, but I’m pretty sure all that white stuff is sandstone and you can see where this butte gets it’s name.

An abandoned farmhouse near the trailhead.

That’s White Butte in the distance. I’m standing in a field of alfalfa.

That’s it for now! I should have more to share in a few weeks.