Mammoth Bones & Leaves of Gold

I’m so glad it’s October. I love the double-digit months. Cool weather > warm weather in my book. Not that it’s gotten very cold around here yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

It may not feel like autumn yet, but it certainly looks like it! I took Monday off to spend some time with my folks, and we decided to take a drive through Spearfish Canyon. Our timing was perfect: fall colors are at their very peak right now.

I’ve taken them through the canyon before, but they weren’t as impressed with the fall foliage last year. They visited earlier in the month, and the colors weren’t popping as much then. My mom’s chief complaint is that there aren’t many red leaves in western South Dakota. That may be true, but when there’s this much yellow, how can you complain?  

To their credit, they did not. Mother Nature finally won them over this year.

And not many doesn’t mean not any

We stopped for lunch at the Latchstring Restaurant. My blackened trout sandwich with lemon aioli was good, but the view was even better.

It’s just a shame it was so freakin’ hot in the sun.

Afterward, a hike to Spearfish Falls was the perfect way to burn off a few of those lunch calories.

The day before, we drove down to Hot Springs to check out the Mammoth Site. It’s been on our list for years, but this was our first visit. In 1974, they were leveling ground for a housing development when a heavy equipment operator discovered a bright white object protruding from the ground. It turned out to be a tusk. As you can imagine, this isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill find when plowing earth, so they called in a bunch of really smart guys from nearby universities. Long story short: the site is an ancient sinkhole containing the fossilized remains of 61 (and counting!) Columbian and woolly mammoths. How cool is that?

It’s still an active dig site, and we all found the self-guided tour fascinating. Scary good, you might even say!

The day before THAT—and I have no idea why I’m blogging in reverse—was CenturyCo’s annual meeting. I thought it went well, all things considering. They tapped me as the official event photographer, a task I took to like…well, a woolly mammoth gravitating toward a sinkhole. Writing is my forte, but photography ranks up there, as well. I don’t pretend to have much technical knowledge when it comes to taking pics, but I do have a good eye and have been shooting in RAW format for the past year and a half and doing some post-production in Photoshop. It’s really made a difference, I feel.

By far the best part about the annual meeting was the speeches. When the Board of Directors president read his, the audience laughed in all the right places. It made me feel like a proud dad almost!

Speaking of, both my kids read my last blog post and commented on our potential Jewish ancestry. It turns out my daughter Audrey took a 23andMe DNA test and the results came back 2% Jewish, so there’s hope for me yet! Granted, that could be from their mom’s side, but given her ethnicity I’d be shocked. I intend to take a DNA myself to settle the matter once and for all.

Deb, we might share a common ancestry after all!

22 thoughts on “Mammoth Bones & Leaves of Gold

  1. Those pictures are all so gorgeous, and I love ancient stuff, the older the better. (I keep reminding my husband how lucky he is that I feel this way. 😉 ) Anyway, your post is once again igniting the wanderlust in me. I gotta get up your way some day.

    Glad your speeches went well! Proud dad indeed! And neat about the possible Jewish blood after all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your photo of Spearfish Falls looks very familiar…like in identical to the one I took! We are just ending a week long visit to the Black Hills and we drove through Spearfish Canyon on Monday. Most likely just missed you on the trail to the falls since we hiked it before lunch. Also checked out Roughlock Falls and then had a picnic lunch down the road near the Dancing with Wolves film site.

    And today, know where we were? The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. Not my cup of tea, but my husband enjoyed it. And it was another day for waterfalls…Cascade Falls just south of Hot Springs and also Falls River Falls behind a church parking lot on the edge of town. Was surprised that neither of them are very well publicized. Had a great lunch at the Red Shed Smokehouse!

    All in all a great week with lots of wildlife sightings and off-the-beaten path discoveries. I envy you living so close to this beautiful part of our country!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit and were able to enjoy the fall colors at their peak! I have never been to Cascade Falls and haven’t even heard of Falls River Falls. I’ll have to check them both out soon.


  3. Beautiful fall photos, although I tend to agree with your mom… your foliage is a bit too monochromatic.
    Mammoths! Now that’s kind of place, very cool.
    Glad the speech was a hit. I can picture you silently mouthing the words from the back row…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the yellow. You can’t beat those views! And would you believe I only recently discovered I like trout? I passed it by all these years because I thought it was full of bones. I’m weird like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely fall colors and views; yellow is nice and thank you mother nature for the sprinkling of red for your Mom.
    The mammoth site. WOW. Do you think they congregated in one spot AND then the sinkhole happened? Or was the sinkhole SO damn big and it swallowed them? Crazy. Too bad they didn’t have a blog to let us know what was happening to them.
    2% Jewish? Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

    Liked by 2 people

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