Friday, September 25, 2009

Today was another gorgeous day, another good day for sightseeing.

These two old trailers came into the park last night - neat!

Today’s tour was around Custer State Park and the Wildlife Loop in the hope of seeing wildlife and we certainly weren’t disappointed - there were lots of buffalo, some deer, some mountain goats and some antelope that were too far away to get pictures of.

Our first stop was at Gordon Stockade. The Gordon Party came to this area in 1874 in search of gold and they built a log fort on French Creek, which served as a base camp. Today we saw a replica of the original stands as a reminder of the Black Hills Gold Rush days.

French Creek

There were also a couple of scenic overlooks and we took the side trip to Mt. Coolidge Lookout at an elevation of 6032’. Of course it was my favourite type of road to get there – gravel, narrow and very twisty and turney. On the way up we were on the outside – not my favourite place to be so I didn’t look down too much, but the return trip was much better as we were on the inside!! The view from the top was spectacular – we could see the carving of Crazy Horse, the Needles, Mt. Harney (the largest mountain east of the Rockies), Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands. I am sure the pictures won’t do any justice to the actual views!

Views From Mt. Coolidge

The Wildlife loop was where we saw all the buffalo – lots and lots of them. This weekend is the kick-off of the 43rd Annul Buffalo Roundup that includes an outdoor arts festival, western entertainment and a chili-cook off. On Monday morning the park’s entire herd of 1,500 bison comes thundering out of the hills, driven by cowboys on horseback and four-wheel drive vehicles. We have been told that people start arriving at 6:30 a.m. to view the buffalo being driven across the plains and that the gates are closed at 9 a.m. for this event, which attracts about 15,000 people. Within a couple of days of the roundup there is a large auction - this is how they manage the park bison and keep a healthy herd.

Buffalo, Mt. Goat & Deer

From there we worked our way back to Rapid City to check on the truck and they were finished with it, just had it out for a test drive. So $1400+ later we have a new differential and hopefully this will be the end of our problem with it.

We stopped at Wal Mart to pick up some groceries and when I went to pay I had no Visa card – oh no, I left it at the park this morning when I paid for a couple more nights – that is a first for me and hopefully a last as what a sick feeling I got when I realized I didn’t have my card. When we got back the owner had my card in the till and said we were just pulling out of the driveway when she realized I had left it there.

We had barbecued chicken wings and cesar salad for dinner and now I hope to get this posted before I go to bed – it will depend on tonight’s internet.

And so ends another great gift of a day and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

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