First, let me introduce you to the team. We have Dr. Thurman, lead of the trip and part of the Pine Ridge leadership team for Global Partners, a family medicine doctor at Gundersen. We have Charlene, a former urgent care nurse who is now an instructor for the nursing program at Western Technical College. Stacy, a nursing program instructor for Western as well and an on-call nurse at Gundersen in pediatrics. Lastly is Solvei, an intern for Gundersen Global Partners.
Our voyage out was fairly eventful. We all congregated early in the morning to leave for our destination: the Lakota Prairie Ranch Resort motel in Kyle. However, we probably didn’t arrive there until after 10pm, reservation time (which is even later back home). What did we do along the way, you ask?
Many typical road-trip essentials. Near lunchtime we stopped in Brandon, just near Sioux Falls, where we all enjoyed lunch with Dr. Thurman’s parents and got to hear a little bit about their life in South Dakota and where Dr. Thurman grew up.
Our next stop was in Chamberlain—a massive, stunning statue of a Native American woman was recently constructed atop a bluff overlooking the Missouri river, named Dignity. She’s meant to represent the pride, strength, and durability of the native cultures in South Dakota.
Across the river we stopped for some random necessities (mustard & butter) and considered purchasing the lucrative cowboy and “outlaw” hats on a stand outside. Dr. Thurman’s son, 8 year-old Ryan, couldn’t help but attract multiple female admirers along the way; being called a treasure at a morning stop and later told he looked handsome in his cowboy hat. I think it’s the dimples.
After dropping Ryan off with his uncle for an exciting week in the Black Hills, the four of us headed over to check out the Badlands. We stopped at an outlook to soak in the view—and the sun: it was 100 degrees out. Driving down the road a bit we stopped and hiked the Window Trail, and then we ambitiously decided to hike the Notch trail. Dubbed a “strenuous” trail with “rough terrain”, all four of us successfully climbed up (and down) the menacing ladder up a rock face (see photo). The notch displayed a gorgeous panoramic view of the Great Plains and was so windy we almost got blown over. We were also treated to the sight of many Dall sheep on our drive away from the trail—even a couple of juveniles crossing the road right in front of us, and a gathering atop a rock formation.
And of course, as this was Char’s first time in South Dakota, we traveled up to Wall Drug and had dinner at the iconic attraction. We spent a little bit of time looking around, and started back towards our home for the next week amongst the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. We got settled in and ready to be productive for the next day at Wanblee clinic.
Solvei, Stacy, Charlene, & Chad