Sunday, October 24, 2010

Custer's "Zoo"

Pronghorn antelope
Got milk?
I'd like to think that if General George Custer was still around, he would have an appreciation and a personal interest in protecting all the animals that are in the state park named after him, Custer State Park. They say he was more interested in the spectacular scenery in this area than the gold that could be found back in his day. I find that hard to believe! There are 71,000 acres in this state park located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and there is so much to see, it's breathtaking. Four lodges and seven campgrounds make it a great destination to stay for awhile. When you think of Custer State Park, you think of the 1500 bison that roam the park at free will, coming up close and personal to people's cars. That didn't happen for us, maybe because the bison roundup had occurred just a few weeks before and the bison were scattered all over the park.                                                      
Here's what we did see up close and personal: a single bison grazing all by himself at the side of the highway, totally ignoring us, begging burros who DID come up to the cars--a leader came first, the rest watched to see if he was going to get anything, then they started up the grassy trail to the road to get their share, IF anybody was willing to feed them--but you are NOT supposed to feed the animals! We saw goats, but no mountain goats, and we did see pronghorn antelope,  more bison grazing in a field, prairie dogs, whitetail deer, and one nice buck that didn't seem to care we wanted his photo.

We saw all these animals in the wild on the 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road from the State Game Lodge to Blue Bell Lodge. Another beautiful drive by car (you can't take an RV on this road) is Iron Mountain Road. Three granite tunnels frame Mount Rushmore perfectly in the distance as you look through the tunnels. Eldy says people get down on the ground in the middle of the road to take that perfect photo. I tried, while he watched for traffic, but the shot didn't turn out. (You wouldn't want to try that during the busy summer months). As much as we'd like to stay in the area, it's getting colder. We need to start heading south, but first we are going east towards Sioux City to get Eldy's driver's license taken care of. See you on the road again....

He seems to know you can't hunt in the park 

1 comment:

  1. We loved Custer State Park and visited it several times while in the area. There is no place like it. Thanks for sharing.