Can we run now?

Dakota Goes to Hot Springs, AR – PART 2

Well, I told you that I would be back with this. There was too much fun in Arkansas to just leave you hanging and Humom has now learned to retrieve. This doesn’t make much sense to me but she had to learn in order to find lost photos that were stuck somewhere in the keyboard…? Anyways, we are both happy to finally have the lost photos of Hot Springs so that I can tell you about this stop on our #dakotagoesusa trip.

On May 10, 2014 we arrived at our destination (Ouachita, AR) which was just outside of Hot Springs and a few turns from the National Park. We were welcomed by Aunt Wendy and Andie. Andie wasn’t super excited to see me at first but then realized that I was no threat and she stopped yelling at me.

log castle

log castle

all paws on deck

all paws on deck

Our home here for a couple days was a huge log cabin on 20 acres of tree forest, garden and pond. You could see far off to the trees from the deck and hear the horses at the ranch below. Along with this came flies the size of little birds… They were called horseflies but I saw no resemblance. Catching bugs is one of my favorite games (especially when Humom has a swatter in her hand) so I knew this place was going to be a lot of fun from the start!


The next day as we searched for the Hot Spring National Park entrance, we were faced with all the grand houses that were called baths.  My idea of a bath is different.  These houses were built years ago and used as spas for the natural springs in the area.

on Bathhouse Row...

on Bathhouse Row…

The baths were actually like magical spa places where people go to enjoy healing natural spring water.  The area is now called Bathhouse Row but the spring water there has been used for centuries as a healing and sacred place by native Indians long before these fancy buildings popped up.

I was more up for the trail… Let go!

Can we run now?

Can we run now?

The fun began once we hit the trails.  We hiked Dogwood Trail, Hot Springs Mountain Trail, Goat Rock and Dead Chief trail to tackle all kinds of great landscape!

Exploring the trails!

Exploring the trails!

my version of rock climbing...

my version of rock climbing…

Hot Spring National Park , the smallest of National Parks, was one of my favorite places because we had lots of short trails and great weather. We had warm open spaces and cool shaded brooks to follow.

Hey, watch this trick!

Hey, watch this stick trick!

We then went back to the forest we were living in and helped Aunt Wendy with the Garden.

Working in the garden.

Working in the garden.

Need help lifting that hay bale?

Need help lifting that hay bale?

She uses this garden to propagate, grow and harvest plants and herbs that she uses in her products. She is an expert in natural herbs, oils and creams that are intended to aid in health and wellness. Humom and I were in the organic garden for a short while trying to help out…

I'm right here if you need me!

I’m right here if you need me!

In the evening we heard all sorts of noises (animal voices) in the back woods. We could especially hear all the goats around the yard. We asked Aunt Wendy how many she had on her property. Her reply was “none”!

Have you ever heard of frogs that sound like goats?!!! I think these are called Sheep frogs or Eastern Narrow-Mouthed frogs.

The excitement of the two days had me beat.

wiped out

wiped out

When we left Arkansas we were on high alert because bug season had hit us.  Aunt Wendy gave us “Don’t Bug Me” insect repellent and “Plantain Spray“.  These saved our lives for the rest of the trip.  I am so grateful that we had these and Humom wouldn’t leave the car without them in her bag.  We will have to get more soon at

I hope to visit again because there is a lot to do and more fun to be had.

Thank you!

Thank you!

Dakota Goes to Yellowstone, WY


June 15, 2014
There is so much to see and do in Yellowstone National Park that I quickly got over the offensive remark by the camp ranger that I was considered a “snack” for the bears in these areas.  He was making a joke, of course, but it was not to be taken too lightly.  There are Black bear and Grizzly bear throughout the park and camp areas too!  We saw a Grizzly from VERY far away and did not see others. But, it is very common for them to be near the roads.  Wyoming is heaven for tons of wildlife…

Australian Shepherd begging to go for a swim...

Australian Shepherd begging to go for a swim…

big guy by the river

American Bison don’t understand “keep your distance at 25 yards rule”…


Mule deer having afternoon snack…

How about a Buffalo chip with some dip?  Poop is everywhere.  And, Bison turds become so hard that Indians and prairie settlers used it for firewood when they didn’t have wood around! It is called “buffalo chips” or “meadow muffins”.  Okay, enough with the poop, but you can’t blame me for being infatuated with it.

Bison families all over!

Bison families all over!

Yellowstone is the very first National Park in the WORLD!  It is such a huge park that it sits in three different states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.  You will see more geysers and springs here than anywhere else on earth.

steamboat geysersmoking mountains

Norris is the hottest hydrothermal area of the park.  I saw it.  The water in the bubbling mud puddles were boiling!  We were told to keep a good distance and not to explore but it was obvious that the heated, steaming ground was dangerous.  This area is where Steamboat Geyer is located and it is the tallest in the world!  It didn’t erupt when I was there… ( whimper and sad face)


This one is called “Minute”.  Minute geyserIt used to go off every 60 seconds!  Until… humans back in the late 1940s used to throw things in it like coin and rock.  It clogged the opening and now it hasn’t erupted in several years!  Sorry to be a downer, but it proves that humans can sometimes make a mess of nature.

Of course we had to take a look at the old geezer, I mean Old Faithful, which is the worlds best know geyser for it’s consistency in eruptions.  We wait…

waiting for old faithful

Looks bigger in person!  Spray was in my eyes...

Looks bigger in person! Spray was in my eyes…


Then, the next stop was Grand Canyon!

Wait a minute!

We already did that and it is a long ways away!  I protested as I did not want to backtrack to Arizona when I was really enjoying Wyoming.  I was happy to find out that Yellowstone has its’ own Grand Canyon.  This adventure was a steep trail down to what is called “Lower Falls” and it leads you to an incredible view right into the canyon.  The rock colors were totally cool and it was one of my most favorite places in the park.gnd cny or yello

Did I mention that it was kindda cold here?  Maybe I was just being a whimp because my hair has not fully grown back yet, but it was down in the 30s at night.  The campground was a bit icy so I just hung out on “high ground”while Humom set up the fort.

chillin at canyon camp

camp is icy








On to Montana!

Dakota goes to Dakota…

June 3, 2014

My state. What can I say? I loved this place as soon as we crossed state line! Why wouldn’t I?  They welcomed me with open arms. Everywhere I turned, I saw my name and heard someone call it!

d mercantiled busDlaserdakotamartDscents

My name was given to me because it means “friend”, “friendly” or “allies” in the native language of Lakota Sioux. If you know me, I fit all the above. While I will continue to believe that this is a state boasting my name, I found out later that South Dakota was named the “Dakota Territories” along with North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming back in 1861.

We take on the northwest section of South Dakota by storm! First,  Badlands National Park.  I thought this was going to be a “bad” idea, but it turned out to be one of my favorite places.  Long ago both native Indians and fur trappers were afraid of this territory not only because of the lack of water and extreme sun, cold and wind but because of the intimidating look. There are peaks, valleys, praries and severe rock formations as if created by aliens. dakota windybdlnds cool rockweird badland mtns again

The park is filled with several types of trails and many look extremely different.

awesome trailsin the trees of badlandsstair pathway



Ohhhh Give me a hooome where the buffalo rooooam…. buffalo roam

The next day was Wind Cave National Park.  We were unable to experience the longest underground cave in the world, so we will have to come back for the below surface experience.  Above, had some amazing features.  BISON were all around us!!!  They looked nice and friendly but we were told to keep our distance.  That’s all great, but they seem to like coming up close and personal!

Don't worry, we were in the car!

Don’t worry, we were in the car!

We headed out as a storm was coming behind us.

storm's coming

storm’s coming!

We continued with a really great drive of twists and turns through a Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park. I enjoyed the ride with my head out the car when suddenly these guys are staring at me from across the mountainside! Can you see them?  I thought it was spooky at first.

heads poking around crnr
They were harmless once we got to them. It’s called Mount Rushmore and the four president’s heads (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt) were carved out of the rock mountainside from years of 1927 to 1941 by about 400 workers!

the guys

We walked along a path called the President’s Trail. Everywhere you turned, George watched…

peaking aroundpres trail at rushmore










As we headed north, I was sad to say “so long” to South Dakota. I was impressed at how intelligent the Bison were here. Many places that we have visited have signs to warn where the deer, bear, elk, moose and roadrunner are supposed to cross the highway. This was THE ONLY crossing where they actually knew the correct place to cross the road.
buffalo crossing

Dakota Goes to Ludington, MI

May 27, 2014
on way to lighthouse I had a dream the other day that I walked down a very long pier. I was in a place that was called Ludington in Michigan. People were sunning on the sand and dipping their toes in the icy water. The pier seemed to go on for days…Ludington’s history belongs to logging and the incorporation of sawmills in all the surrounding areas back in the 1800s and also became a major Great Lakes shipping port. This day there were people enjoying ice-cream in the sun.  I kept walking on the pier as I was dreaming… almost thereWhen I finally got to the end, the Ludington lighthouse was a lot bigger than it looked from the beach! I watched people go up to take a peak.D at Lud lighthouse

I walked back towards the little town. I met many friends to play with in the park. Some were very warm and others were stone cold…

This guy wouldn't move a muscle and he also smelled kind of weird

This guy wouldn’t move a muscle and he also smelled kind of weird

You are my very best friend

You are my very best friend









My dream kept getting more odd…I played “follow the leader” with this group. They seamed really lively at first.

come one everyone - lets get going!

Come one everyone – lets get going!

I’m glad it was all a dream because it was strange.

dreaming of lighthouse

surrounded by lighthouses

When I woke up it was time to get going. Humom said we were going to hitch a ride on a badger. Ha! Am I still dreaming?  Now, this I gotta see!

ss badger
Well, this was way more fun than trying to hop on fury animal! The S.S. Badger is a huge people and auto ferry. Your car gets loaded on and then you can go take a nap, watch a movie, eat at one of the cafeterias, play bingo or walk all around the deck!  Before I knew it, we were in Wisconsin!  We crossed Lake Michigan on this big boat to another state where we continue the Dakota Goes USA trip!

I hope we don't have to use this

I hope we don’t have to use this

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Dakota Goes to Lewes, DE

May 21, 2014

Hellooooo from the Atlantic Ocean!

I am at Lewes Beach in Deleware.  It doesn’t seem to matter what side of the country I am on, my toes just missed the sand!  I couldn’t wait to jump into the ocean.



mouthball on Lewes beach

sun, sand and ball!






I played on the beach for a good hour with some new friends. This is Missy, Choco and Bentley. We chased each other and several balls until they had to go in for dinner.

I did notice a couple difference from this particular East coast beach compared to my West coast beach. Firstly, the sun was going down on the other side…

Lewes, DE

Lewes, DE

Seal Beach, CA

Seal Beach, CA


The other thing was the Seagulls looked a little different. They were more speckled black and white like my colors and black heads. They were jokers. They cackled all the time like they were telling each other a funny joke about you…

...did you hear the one about the Australian Shepherd...?

…did you hear the one about the Australian Shepherd…?

There weren’t any waves here. There were sandbars where people went out to look at
Hermit Crabs and Horseshoe Crabs.  I went out to greet everyone until I was beat and needed some rest.  We stayed in this awesome house on the water.

Lazy L

Lazy L for me
There was an entire yard just for me to play! The next day I ran and played here till my feet hurt.

Dakota Goes to Great Smokey Mountains, TN

May 14, 2014

Frogs are funny. I would love to play hide and seek with them. I’d win every time because once they get going, they can rarely keep quiet. I asked this guy, but it was late and time for bed.  He’s a Wood Frog and loves the water like me!

Freddy didn't have time to play...

Freddy didn’t have time to play…

I’ve never been to Tennessee and it is a surprise. We have had all kinds of weather. In the south it was super hot and humid. Now that we are in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, it was warm and beautiful one day, and rainy and cold the next.  The air here smells sweet.

Did you catch a whiff?

Did you catch a whiff?

Green, green and green…as far as the eye can see in different shades.  We are in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park! It is the most popular national parks in the country. So far (and it is not the busy season) I have seen license plates from NY, PA, KY, ID, MS, MI, CA, GA and IN!  I was wondering if there were lots of fires here to keep them smokey.  I didn’t see any smoke when we got here.  Then, I saw it…

Smoking Mountains

Its a natural fog that comes out of the mountains and they look like they are smoking!  It is caused by something called vegetation vapor.  The plants are steaming.  Isn’t it cool?

There is tons of terrific animals to see here.  Mostly we saw deer.  The black bear lives here too so you have to be cautious to stay out of his sniff path.  We drove and walked all different parts!  Since the toads weren’t interested in my game, Humom got me my own.playtoad

While there are only a couple trails for me, there are plenty in the park to trek and also lots of places to stop and play.  The rivers and streams come flowing from several different sources such as the Little Pigeon River and the Oconaluftee River.  The sound as it pours downstream is strong and fierce!

Can I go in now?

Can I go in now?

I think I see fish!

I think I see fish!









Our campground was at Elkmont and it was really nice! I love sleeping in the tent. We stayed here for the sun and pouring rain but enjoyed all of it!cmpgrndGSM
When it was time to leave we stopped and talked to Johnny Wild. He was really chill and had some great colors on his feathers. He has tons of family living here in the Smokies. When we took this picture he suddenly got hostile, stretched out his feathers and gobble, gobble gobbled…no paparazzi! no paparazzi!JohnnyWild GSM

We shoved off to let Johnny enjoy his morning stroll in peace.  See you later!

Until next time Great Smokey Mountains!

Until next time Great Smokey Mountains!

Dakota Goes to Hot Springs, AR

Next stop was Arkansas. This is a very green state. I was in tree heaven.  I have so much to tell you about the fun, the excitement, the beauty, the trials, the challenges…

…but I’ll have to wait till later.

You know the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”?  Well, Humom has temporarily lost all the photos from Hot Springs National Park.  It is best that I wait to tell you about this one till she can retrieve.  In the mean time I am on the road!

where will we go next?

where will we go next?