Published: July 14th 2009July 14th 2009
Nate gets a bit close to the edge!
This morning we drove the Bandlands loop road to see the sites. It is quite different but spectacular. The prairie dogs were funny as they scurried away when we stopped to look at them but then in a few seconds popped their heads back up looking around. There were hundreds of them on the flat prairie area.
After the Badlands it was off to Rapid City and then to the black hills to find a camping spot. We passed by Mt Rushmore about 11am and were disappointed to see cars backed up for about a half mile waiting to get in to the concession parking area where you have to pay $10. to park, while Mt. Rushmore is free! -YIKES. The parking area is now a 3 level parking structure. We try to will brave the masses tomorrow morning. Hopefully if we get there early in the morning there wont be a line.
Our first stop on a campsite search was the Horsethief CG a couple miles past Mt. Rushmore. It was a nice campground 15 years ago when we last visited, however it is now run by a concession with many more sites in the same space making
Our campsite at Center Lake
most sites pretty crowded. It is still a pretty campground, but the nightly fee is a bit high compared to all the other campgrounds. Only a few poor sites were available so we decided to pass.
We drove up the needles highway toward Custer state park and through the narrow tunnels which was cool. We drove through a couple campgrounds which were run by a concession for the state and they too were really packed together….not to mention that ALL the sites are reservable (no first come first serve) and had been reserved months ago. Too many flippin people dad says. We finally got to our next campground at Center Lake. It is the only campground in Custer State Park that is still run by the state and is totally first come first serve, no reservations. We found a pretty good site and set up camp about 1pm. Later Nate & Katie rode their bikes down to the lake to swim for a bit while dad putzed in the campground.
About 4pm we went for a drive to get ice and stuff and looked at a few of the other campgrounds. A lot of places have “camping cabins”
Off to the lake
Nate & Kate head off to the lake for a swim
now which don’t seem like a bad idea, but of course they are all reserved well ahead of time. We got back to our campground about 5pm and saw that it was full. Competition for camping sites is tough!
After we finished dinner and were about to go back down to the lake, it began to thunder and lightning. It was pretty much on top of us and we scurried to get things put away out of the rain. Though loud the storm didnt last very long and with just enough rain to settle down the dust.
Well, Thats about it for today.
--for some reason we are not able to download pictures, but will keep trying