Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sparky in Pursuit!

We woke up to a beautiful morning this  morning after two days of dense fog and highs of only 38 degrees! It quickly warmed up and turned out to be a balmy 72 degrees, a great day to be out exploring Custer State Park. This is our second visit to the park, we were here last year in October. This time more things were open even though the season is winding down.

We saw LOTS of wildlife today on the wildlife loop drive through the park....bison close to the road, pronghorn antelope, begging burros and we saw our friend, Pete, the fat and sassy prairie dog. This time last year when we came through the park, the prairie dogs were popping in and out of their holes like one of my favorite arcade games, "Whack-A-Mole"--where you whack the pop up gophers on the top of the head with a mallet as fast as you can. (And I thought my Sparky was a tenderhearted soul, laments E.) The bison were all spread out as the mating season is pretty much over....a single one here, a big guy over there.....The burros are quite bold, coming right up to your window for handouts but we know better! Park rules say,"DO NOT FEED WILDLIFE!" (At least that's one rule Sparky follows, says a relieved E.) SOMEBODY must have fed them or why would they come right to your window and attempt to stick their heads in?

Pronghorn antelope are interesting creatures...a sign said they are the fastest land animal and can run up to 70 m.p.h. (Au contraire, Sparky, CHEETAHS are the fastest land animal they say.) Well, I just read the sign, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. They can sustain those speeds longer than a cheetah, I also read..They have supersized lungs and heart to be able to take in more oxygen to run that fast. Females have horns, too--I did not know that, but the female horns are seldom pronged. So this guy COULD be a girl, me thinks. I know, who cares? :-)  I just like reading about animals and geology and then sticking it in my blog so I can remember it for later....

The big bison roundup is coming soon--the last weekend of September...We're sorry we have to miss looks to be a huge deal around here! Maybe that's why the herd is all spread out and there are just single ones here and there....

(Uh, Sparky...the folks are wondering what you were in pursuit of, today...reminds E.) Oh, yeah! I was in pursuit of a humongous elk with his harem of three fat and sassy females in the woods off to the side of the road as we were driving through the park. I got out of the car with specific instructions from my better half NOT to venture past a certain log. I didn't...the cagey big bull elk started looking my way, then wandering off deeper into the forest looking back over his shoulder as I ventured into the woods, as if to say, "C'mon, ladies, time to get a move on!" I did get a shot at him, but the trees are blocking the view. We got lucky later in the day after we returned to the campground, took a break, then headed over to the Crazy Horse Memorial to check the place out and see the nightly laser light show...another bull elk bounded across the road, jumped over the fence, then posed for his picture for us!

We'll tell you about Crazy Horse Memorial tomorrow and the drive through the Needles...see you then!


  1. Great elk shot there. I'm like you ... I read all kinds of tidbits about wildlife and geology - in fact anything we see - and stick it in the blog mostly so I can refer back to it later as necessary. I know it makes the blog long; and I know others probably skip right over those details. But I enjoy reading them later when I revisit a particular post.

  2. The wildlife loop sure did go all out for you. You saw almost every animal the park says they have.
    Great pictures!!

    We were there the same day. Wonder why you didn't see us there too?? You could have have added our pictures to the wildlife group. :-)

    Tell "E" that I love his comments.

  3. Wow.. you sure saw a lot on the wildlife loop than we did a few years ago. About all we saw was a herd of mule deer and the butt of a sheep. LOL

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  4. Great post. Brings back many memories of the park.