Mammoths and Black Hills

We have been on the road for seven days and have driven a lot of miles! I had a few posts scheduled during the week, but didn’t manage to get a Sunday Post done. We are in Canada now and I can only use the internet when we have wireless available in hotels. I’m hoping to write a few posts during the next couple weeks about our trip.

Our first major stop of our road trip was at The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Mammoth bones were found here over thirty years ago. Paleontologists work to uncover the bones of dozens of Columbian Mammoths and Wooly Mammoths as well as other animals who died here. The site is the largest in the United States that shows mammoth bones in situ (left where the bones are found).

The site appears to have been a sink hole fed by warm springs. Vegetation would have grown on the side of the sink hole and mammoths and other animals sometimes fell in. Once they fell in they couldn’t climb out the steep, slippery sides and they died of starvation. Over thousands of years the sink hole filled in with dirt.

One humorous story we heard during our tour was that all the mammoths found and identified so far are young males. The scientists think the young males had to leave their herd and because they weren’t as cautious as older mammoths they fell into the sink hole!

After we left The Mammoth Site we drove through the Black Hills. Surprisingly they got their name because the hills are black! Though I thought the hills looked like regular hills. We stopped for lunch in Hill City. Such a cute town. I especially liked the two metal sculptures in front of a shop–a horse and a mule (or a donkey).

We ate at the Alpine Inn. They had German food and I had spaetzle which I love. And a Fat Tire beer from New Belgium Beer!

Then we drove out of South Dakota into Wyoming and finally to Montana for the night. Next major stop is Glacier National Park.