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Chelsea Yamase Explores a Hidden Gem

Chelsea Yamase Explores a Hidden Gem

POSTED BY DAVID BOLLER | OCTOBER, 3 2018

Chelsea Yamase recently had the opportunity to visit one of America's hidden gems: South Dakota. She working with a local tourism board, and had no idea what to expect on her visit. What she found surprised her. We caught up with her after the trip learn more:

How was your trip to Rapid City, SD different than you expected?

I had no idea what to expect from South Dakota. For some odd reason I just felt like it would be underwhelming since I hadn't seen too many photos of it or heard anything about it. But once I decided to go and started asking around, it was actually interesting what people had to say. Everything I knew about South Dakota came from a few friends and they all loved it for slightly different reasons, which was what made me excited for my trip. I basically took each of their suggestions and made it into one big trip! I was blown away by the incredibly unique geology, the access to healthy and interesting places to eat, and how kind everyone was. It felt like everyone we interacted with from book store owners, to park rangers, to rock climbers all held a deep love for their home state. I like that.

What was your favorite memory from the trip?

My favorite memory from the trip was the second afternoon Masha and I spent out in Badlands National Park. We had gone there once to catch sunset, but quickly realized there was so much more that we wanted to see. A local photographer messaged us a hint on a cool location a bit off the beaten path and even though the weather seemed to be threatening rain, we decided to go. We drove for miles down this dirt road as the sky cleared to blue and the rock formations just got more and more interesting.

Huge castle-like structures rose up out of the sand or eroded away from cliffs to make turrets and delicate pinnacles. It reminded me of a desert version of my lush home in Hawaii. If this was in Utah or Arizona, the whole area would probably be teeming with other visitors, but that's the good part of visiting underrated states! We frolicked through soft grasses while the sky lit up in all kinds of pinks and oranges. Then the prettiest crescent moon came out. The weather was perfect summer, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the trip.

What were your top three activities or places you visited while you were in SD? why?

Top three activities are hard to say, but I think they would be: Custer State Park, Black Hills, and Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park: I think this is one of the few things people know about outside of South Dakota, and yet it's still not fully known. The landscape is stunning and it has open backcountry access which is rare!

Custer State Park/Black Elk Peak: We loved spending the day hiking in Custer State Park. The state park has so many things to do, whether you just want a scenic drive or do some crazy rock climbing. We had such a great time there hiking around the lake and up Black Elk Peak, and seeing all the wildlife.

Black Hills: I loved Highlining in the Black Hills. I admit it is a pretty niche activity, but the Black Hills in general are amazing!

Why should someone visit for themselves?

I can't tell other people why they should visit, but personally I'm a bit fan of places that surprise me. As a photographer, I love showing up to a place that I haven't already seen tons of photos of from every possible angle. As a traveler, I enjoy the possibility of being alone in cool places. South Dakota has managed to skate under the radar behind some of its more well-known neighbor states, and a part of me is actually glad.

Do you have any suggestions for someone who is planning a trip to South Dakota?

I would say stay in Rapid City, as it is a good base for so many activities. Everything we did was within a one hour radius, which made it so much nicer than having to constantly change hotels. Also check out the secret speak easy at Murphy's and an awesome place called Bakeworks for pastries and treats made with a purpose!

Chelsea Yamase

A self described creative traveling the world as an athlete, model, and writer. She is based out of Hawaii, and hopes that by sharing from her life that she inspires you to "draw closer to your passions and to view the world as precious and connected, rather than fierce or unfamiliar."

Chelsea Yamase Explores a Hidden Gem

POSTED BY DAVID BOLLER | OCTOBER, 3 2018

Chelsea Yamase recently had the opportunity to visit one of America's hidden gems: South Dakota. She working with a local tourism board, and had no idea what to expect on her visit. What she found surprised her. We caught up with her after the trip learn more:

How was your trip to Rapid City, SD different than you expected?

I had no idea what to expect from South Dakota. For some odd reason I just felt like it would be underwhelming since I hadn't seen too many photos of it or heard anything about it. But once I decided to go and started asking around, it was actually interesting what people had to say. Everything I knew about South Dakota came from a few friends and they all loved it for slightly different reasons, which was what made me excited for my trip. I basically took each of their suggestions and made it into one big trip! I was blown away by the incredibly unique geology, the access to healthy and interesting places to eat, and how kind everyone was. It felt like everyone we interacted with from book store owners, to park rangers, to rock climbers all held a deep love for their home state. I like that.

What was your favorite memory from the trip?

My favorite memory from the trip was the second afternoon Masha and I spent out in Badlands National Park. We had gone there once to catch sunset, but quickly realized there was so much more that we wanted to see. A local photographer messaged us a hint on a cool location a bit off the beaten path and even though the weather seemed to be threatening rain, we decided to go. We drove for miles down this dirt road as the sky cleared to blue and the rock formations just got more and more interesting.

Huge castle-like structures rose up out of the sand or eroded away from cliffs to make turrets and delicate pinnacles. It reminded me of a desert version of my lush home in Hawaii. If this was in Utah or Arizona, the whole area would probably be teeming with other visitors, but that's the good part of visiting underrated states! We frolicked through soft grasses while the sky lit up in all kinds of pinks and oranges. Then the prettiest crescent moon came out. The weather was perfect summer, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the trip.

What were your top three activities or places you visited while you were in SD? why?

Top three activities are hard to say, but I think they would be: Custer State Park, Black Hills, and Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park: I think this is one of the few things people know about outside of South Dakota, and yet it's still not fully known. The landscape is stunning and it has open backcountry access which is rare!

Custer State Park/Black Elk Peak: We loved spending the day hiking in Custer State Park. The state park has so many things to do, whether you just want a scenic drive or do some crazy rock climbing. We had such a great time there hiking around the lake and up Black Elk Peak, and seeing all the wildlife.

Black Hills: I loved Highlining in the Black Hills. I admit it is a pretty niche activity, but the Black Hills in general are amazing!

Why should someone visit for themselves?

I can't tell other people why they should visit, but personally I'm a bit fan of places that surprise me. As a photographer, I love showing up to a place that I haven't already seen tons of photos of from every possible angle. As a traveler, I enjoy the possibility of being alone in cool places. South Dakota has managed to skate under the radar behind some of its more well-known neighbor states, and a part of me is actually glad.

Do you have any suggestions for someone who is planning a trip to South Dakota?

I would say stay in Rapid City, as it is a good base for so many activities. Everything we did was within a one hour radius, which made it so much nicer than having to constantly change hotels. Also check out the secret speak easy at Murphy's and an awesome place called Bakeworks for pastries and treats made with a purpose!

Chelsea Yamase

A self described creative traveling the world as an athlete, model, and writer. She is based out of Hawaii, and hopes that by sharing from her life that she inspires you to "draw closer to your passions and to view the world as precious and connected, rather than fierce or unfamiliar."

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