Blogs from Custer State Park, South Dakota, United States, North America

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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 ... read more
Tatanka at Rest
On the move
Herding Buffalo


We spent today in and around Custer State Park, starting with the wildlife loop road, where we saw plenty of wildlife, then stopping for lunch at one of the park lodges. I went for the bison burger this time while Barb tried a barbecue bison sandwich. We heard the couple seated at the next table tell the waitress that they were from Pennsylvania. Amazingly, they were from Mill Village! We then visited the nearby Black Hills towns of Custer, Hill City, and Keystone, and went to Mount Rushmore. Considering that today is September 11, it was an especially appropriate time to visit Mount Rushmore and to pause and reflect on the greatness of our nation. We circled back into Custer State Park on what is called the Iron Mountain Road, and wow, what a drive. Lots ... read more
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We found a Methodist church in Sundance so we went to services this morning. The congregation was mostly elderly with only two young families. We talked with an elderly couple who have been ranchers in Sundance all of their lives. Its nice to get a local perspective. Sundance seems like a pretty nice town. Our destination for today was the Black Hills, a fairly short drive of a hundred miles. We have been there before and really like the area. We decided to camp somewhere convenient to Custer State Park, but I couldn't reserve a site in the park itself. After setting up camp we went into Custer State Park and poked around a couple areas. We saw lots of wildlife, including bison, pronghorns, deer, bighorn sheep, turkeys, and prairie dogs. We will go back again ... read more
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Today we visited Custer State Park (known as South Dakota’s crown jewel). It is one of the nation’s largest parks with over 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain and abundance of wildlife. This is rated as one of the top 5 scenic byways in all the USA. We drove the 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road known as a wildlife wonderland. It consisted of rolling prairies, pine covered mountains, lakes, streams and granite spires. Lots of switch backs but we avoided the roads with tunnels because Joy was too nervous. We saw herds of bison, bands of burrows, white tail deer, prairie dogs, and wild turkey. Elusive to us were the elk, antelope, mountain lions, big horn sheep, mountain goats and coyotes. Maybe we will go back another day. Our main reason for going was to see the ... read more
Burrow Stand-Off
Burrows
Burrows


Today we found we have another low tire so we put a hold on the site seeing to find a tire shop. We dropped the tire off at a local tire shop and went thrift shopping. We found the Twilight movie that Daisy read on this trip, a lot of cool t-shirts for Daisy and finally a new camera. We got to go to a sit down lunch at Perkins which was a nice treat. We then picked up Mandy and headed to Custer State Park, it was $20 to get into the park and was already 5 pm so we opted to drive thru and take our own scenic drive. It seems that this area follows its own set of rules, all the other South Dakota State Parks are $6 and none of the other ... read more
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visite du parc national de Custer ou nous avons vu des bisons, des prairies dog et des ânes....une très belle végétation ou les animaux sont en totale liberté!!! Superbes paysages(comme toujours) et supers souvenirs car bisons cotoyés de près!!!... read more
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Day 10: 59 degrees and cloudy. We moved between Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest to do some wildlife viewing. We started with some prairie dogs, I spotted what I claim is a Golden Eagle but it could have been one of many raptors in the area, some red wing black birds, and a few other species of birds I am not familiar with. We caught some white tailed deer and prong horn deer, and of course...a herd of 200-300 bison. On the way home after dinner we spotted some moose but it was too dark to get decent pictures. However, the only viable proof I can present is the picture of two sets of eyes in the dark--see below. We did run up to Rapid City to catch a movie, Inside Out, ... read more
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Day 8: Independence Day! Latitude 43.71, Longitude-103.40, 81 degrees and sunny, barely a cloud in the sky. What a Fourth! We visited the Crazy Horse Memorial to start the day. This is an amazing monument. All of the presidents of Mt. Rushmore can fit inside the head of Crazy Horse. We plan on returning for the Laser show tomorrow night and possibly witness some blasting of the sculpture on Monday if the weather holds. As we were leaving the parking lot Alec spotted an Alaska license plate two cars away from us; one to go. After spending some time acquainting ourselves with Native American history we made our way over to Mt. Rushmore. Pulling into our space in the garage, Eagle Eye Alec spotted the rare Hawaii license plate in the next row. 50 States, DC, ... read more
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After nearly one year absence I’ve returned to share with you our travels and to keep the record of memories going for ourselves! Please feel free to ignore my entry reminders if you’d like or let me know and I’ll remove you from my “guestbook.” My last entry was of our East Coast trip last fall, 2010. We landed in Florida and a few weeks later drove the Element back to Michigan for Christmas. Thankfully our lab Harley is a great traveler so tolerates all this travel well (probably better than we do.) After a few weeks enjoying the kids, grands and friends we drove back to Florida. The winter consisted of a five week Habitat build in Fellsmere, Fl with our Care-A-Vanner reunion group. This group of friends is so special to us and we ... read more
Begging Burow
Pronghorn Sheep
Keystone, SD


Today was another day in Custer State Park. The park has two distinct halves, one mountains and one prairie. I saw the best of the prairie yesterday, so I headed for the mountains. I wanted to get out of the car and climb, which meant Harney Peak. Harney Peak Trail The peak is the highest mountain in the Black Hills. As the tourist authorities love to point out, it is also the highest mountain between the Rocky Mountains and the French Pyrenees! To the Lakota, the peak is sacred, the Center Of All That Is. The forces that regulate the universe meet on the peak. Honored elders would climb the peak to receive visions of the future. These days, park visitors climb it by the url=http://travel.nytimes.com/2009... read more
Needles Overlook
Stream Valley
Harneys Peak, looking southwest




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