Sunday, June 5, 2011

Custer State Park (Spearfish, SD)

So now we're doing the tourist routine.  Wednesday we did our tour of Spearfish Canyon.  Thursday we left early with the boys and headed for Custer State Park.

It's about an hour and a half drive.  Upon our arrival, much of the day was spent driving through the park enjoying the bold, rugged beauty.  We began with the Wildlife Loop Road.  It's 18 miles.  This road takes you around the southern portion of the park.  It is aptly named. Early in our route we came to Mt Coolidge.  It's a little more then 6000 ft.  Unfortunately the crest is crowded with various antennas but the view from the top is the best.

Not that clear a picture, but look closely and you can see the Crazy Horse carving in the distance 
In addition to beautiful scenery we saw a great deal of wildlife.  The most spectacular were the bison.  We saw mommas, papas and babies.

We saw a few Pronghorns.

We also encountered a herd of Burros.  They weren't near the road.  They were in the road.

They also were mighty comfortable with humans and their cars.

As we approached this portion of the roadway that the Burros owned, they simply strolled up to the car.

At one point I wasn't paying attention and one of the Burros nearly got his head in the car.  The Burros walked around and up to cars, motorcycle's, adults and children. They were fearless. Again, lots of fathers, mothers and children.

From there we found our way to the 14  mile Needles Highway Scenic Drive.  The name reflects the long pointed rock formations found repeatedly along the highway,

as well as some mighty narrow tunnels!

At the end of the highway we came to scenic paradise called Sylvan Lake.

The site is too perfect to try to describe.

We'll return to Custer.  There are great hikes and still much more to see.

After departing, we drove to Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City and shopped the Commissary.  It was a wonderful day for the four of us.  The boys, Bo and Laska, are always so excited to be with us.  They make us feel so guilty when we leave them and they make us feel so loved when they're with us! 

Friday was a day to do chores.  Granted we don't get started too early and we break as we choose. Debbie spent much of the day giving the camper a good cleaning.  I traveled to and from ACE Hardware a couple times to get some fittings to fix our water filter and I washed the truck and the car.  I may have also spent "some time" chatting with neighbors.

Saturday we were back on the road.  It wasn't to be a big trip and we left home about noon.  First stop was Sturgis, SD.

For those unfamiliar, Sturgis is the home of an annual motorcycle rally that attracts something like 500,000 people each year.  That's right folks, half a million.  Sturgis is about 20 miles from Spearfish.  We're told that during rally week this entire portion of SD will be dominated with the bikers' presence.  So we checked the little town out and spent a little time in the Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. 

Interesting enough.  From there we drove to Bear Butte State Park just outside of Sturgis.  The focal point is a large abrupt mountain. 

There is a 2 mile trail that rises 1000 ft to the top.

We walked a little of the trail just to check it out. We plan to return next week to hike the entire trail before the temps warm up around here.

The park also included a small campground and this pretty lake complete with waterfowl. 

We came home, ate a large salad and then took the dogs for a long walk on the beloved Spearfish paved trail.

Life is Good....I hope you agree!


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