Nature is my muse

It is almost the end of our weeklong road trip through the wondrous Black Hills of South Dakota, a place that is surprisingly beautiful with its mix of lush green prairie land and rocky, pine-filled hills.

It is the beginning of the real American West, filled with some of our nation’s remaining  free roaming bison, labyrinths of caves, gold mines and least we forget the endless hum of Harley’s and bikes.

Yet perhaps the best thing about the Black Hills of South Dakota is it’s astounding beauty. There is truly no place quite like it. Nature is always my muse and I can usually find beauty everywhere. 

Here are a handful of Instagram shots I took over the last few days. I’m looking forward to sharing more soon.

A few shots from Lake Sylvan in Custer State Park, a gem. 



The highlight of our family trip was the climb to Harney Peak, the highest mountain in South Dakota, reaching a little over 7,200 feet. (Hike is about 6 miles round trip/4 hours and my daughter Sophia’s first peak!). And nothing but miles and miles of prairies and plains.

It is a beautiful place.  

We are heading to the Badlands as I type and then a long eight hour drive home tomorrow to Minneapolis. More coming soon on our great American roadtrip! 

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse. 


  1. Wow, Lake Sylvan looks devine! I’ve been meaning to get to this part of the country for awhile… just might need to bump it up on the list. 🙂

  2. I think that nature will be the muse for lots of people, Nicole. Glad you’ve had a great time. My favourite shot- that beauty of the lake. 🙂

  3. I’ve never been to South Dakota, and appreciated seeing these beautiful photos of the landscape there, nature, and your beautiful family, Nicole 🙂

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  5. Great photos, Nicole! How wonderful that Sophia got to do her first climb!

    And just so you know, I’m doing my own US road trip this summer, going on two-month RV adventure with my nearing-ninety Godmother and her cat Pepe le Mew. I leave for the US in a week. The RV is huge, 37-feet. My Godmother will be driving and towing an SUV the entire way. She was a Flamenco dancer during her entire professional life. I’m going to try to blog about our trip and write a book about the 64 beautiful years she and my Godfather, a Venezuelan movie star (I kid you not!), were married, until Raul died last fall one month shy of his 97th birthday.

    Hope you all make it home safely. Sorry to have been away so long!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  6. Love your photos Nicole! We thoroughly loved our time in SD. Our favorite hike was Harney Peak. What a great family road trip. 🙂

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  8. Sas

    It’s great that you’re blogging about South Dakota. I met a high school student from Colorado Springs last week who told me that South Dakota is somewhere I have to go. I’m still in Alaska for another few days, but I’m already planning my next trip to the States in my head 🙂 And big congrats to Sophia for walking up to her first peak!

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