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Published: September 5th 2018
Remember "Dances with Wolves" with Kevin Costner? Most of the movie was filmed in South Dakota.
Tom and I are driving home through the prairie states of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. We drove west through Canada’s prairie provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. I told him today that though I love some of the things about the eastern US (I lived in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee), I’m a child of the prairies, having lived in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, and love to be where I can look across the wide spaces, see the whole sky, and breathe with the help of the constant wind. Middle America is not just “flyover” country to me.
We’ve spent the last couple of days at Custer State Park in South Dakota. If you’ve never been there, it’s time to go. Tourist attractions range from watching real cowboys round up real buffalo (bison for the picky ones) to touring the Badlands’ bizarre geology to viewing the four big white guys at Mount Rushmore and the equally large Crazy Horse monument that’s nearby.
If you need to see one place that reminds you of the impact of European immigration on the lives of the much earlier Native American settlers, this is the place to go. Custer State
Tatanka at Rest
We came upon a large part of the herd at rest, but the cowboys were coming.
Park operates multiple campgrounds, cabins and lodges, offers three scenic drives, and preserves a herd of 1400 buffalo on its 71,000 acres. (They are the remnant of the 30 to 60 MILLION buffalo that lived on the prairies 200 years ago.) We were lucky to see the beginning of the annual roundup, with real cowboys dressed in real 19th
century cowboy attire.
Tomorrow ( 6 September 2018), we’ll continue east.
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