Saturday, June 12, 2010

Close Encounters of the Flash Flood Kind

[Image Removed By Request Of Copyright Owner]

Back in the summer of 1972 our family went on a camping trip out west to the Black Hills of South Dakota and also to Wyoming. We drove I-90 all the way with stops at Mitchell's Corn Palace, the Badlands, Wall Drug Store, Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower. There were four people, a dog and a sick rat in a rat cage in a 1966 Mustang pulling a small trailer. How we did that must have amazed my parents.

Back then our people's sensitivities towards Native Americans (or Indians as we still called them) were just emerging.  I learned only later that the Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux and that my people had effectively desecrated their land by carving up Mt. Rushmore. At the time, Crazy Horse Monument wasn't much to look at yet.

We camped at a campground near Keystone, SD very near Mt. Rushmore. After that we moved on to Wyoming and spent a couple days at Devil's Tower National Monument. On the return trip, we passed back through the Black Hills and then spent the night outside of Rapid City so as to be poised for the interstate sprint across the plains back east along I-90. My dad was always a big proponent of splurging on a motel before heading back home on his road trips. It rained that night and we awoke early, probably catching a bite to eat before hitting the road--I really don't recall.  What I do remember is tuning into the AM radio as as we drove back east to Wisconsin. Cracking AM radio reports of flash flood destruction struck us dumb, especially as the local news described how places and campsites that we had just visited had literally been swept away during the night. I don't think that any of us had ever come so close to harm's way before or since.

Here's a description of the flash flood: Link


  1. Hey if is a flash flood would it be indicted in South Carolina for a felony?

  2. A sobering reminder of how swiftly, and powerfully, nature can turn fatal.

  3. Hey Troop I said flash flood not flesh flood. Get your mind out of the gutter.