our previous post had us in idaho, and after a beautiful drive from idaho falls through jackson, wyoming and past the grand tetons we arrived at beaver lake campground in custer south dakota for the g family reunion.
my side of the family is big and pretty boisterous. we certainly had a presence at the campground, mostly positive i think. on the first day we had a friendly game of keepaway that took over the pool as keepaway tends to do. people enjoyed the intergenerational aspect of the game, as well as the spectacle of me with a monkey grip on my 6'6" cousin's back, pinning his arms so his son could peel the ball out of his fist.
beaver lake campground had a beautiful little hall we booked for the duration. we met there for morning coffee and for supper, otherwise people wandered at will.
my mom booked our family a little cabin that slept 6. it was perfect for our needs. the air conditioning was great for afternoon naps and the tight quarters and kitchenette made for lots of time with our immediate family. the schedule of the reunion (also planned by my mom) allowed for lots of time with various cousins, but made it easy to seamlessly include a parallel vacation with just my parents and julie and lowell.
custer is surrounded by parks and monuments and beautiful lakes. we saw and did what we could during the four days, but i would really like to come back to this area for longer. the landscape is beautiful and varied.
julie and lowell were struck by the solemnity and respect of honouring the leaders of a great nation in pure granite, while ty experienced more of what the nostril carvers would have felt like.
one day half the family did a hike that ended at sylvan lake, and the other half met them there to swim.
the gnarled rock formations that pepper the area stick right out of the lake. they are very scenic and make for great bouldering. there is a $200 fine for jumping off them, and reasonably so, as more of those bumpy granite spires lurk just below the surface, but to pass up such beautiful cliff jumping was a shame (the warden was literally lurking in the bushes waiting to bust jumpers, even safety conscious ones).
there were many musicians and accomplished singers present. instruments were lying around and music was present every day.
the black hills are known for their mountain bike trails. every morning we went for an early ride. the trails we found were a mix of nice singletrack, doubletrack and wide gravel. apparently every community in the area maintains its own network of singletrack, which we didnt get to sample... another reason to return.
in addition to a pool, the campground had a waterslide that we booked for an evening. it was the second night and provided a wonderful way for multiple generations to get comfortable with eachother. speed and splash maximizing tips, as well as cheering and teasing quickly developed across age gaps and beyond immediate families.
the older generation made a strong showing at the slide. matching the younger ones for speed, and exceeding them in splash.
a meaningful time with wonderful people in a beautiful place. thank you mom and aunt wilma for organizing such a fantastic event. we love you!