Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Custer State Park… The Animals are So Close you Can See Them Breathe

Since we started traveling, we generally do not have long sight-seeing days. Partly because we do not need to cram everything into one long day—we can take our time and really enjoy each moment and each sight.  We also tend to have shorter days because I (Lisa) still have a lot of days that I struggle with pain.  It seems like the longer my day, the more pain I will have at the end of the day and often the next day.

Since we are only in the Black Hills and Badland area for two days, we felt like we wanted to see every possible sight we could.

Today started out cloudy and with strong winds.  But, we will not be deterred.  We started at Custer State Park.  We were really excited about the possibility of seeing wildlife throughout the park.  Custer Park has wildlife roaming throughout the park.

Within a couple of miles we saw a herd of Buffalo "hanging out" beside and IN the middle of the road.  Signs throughout the park say “Wildlife are dangerous, do not approach”—they do not tell you what to do when they approach you!


The buffalo were roaming around totally unfazed by the cars on the road and those parked beside the road.  Several of the buffalo were within a foot of our jeep.

We could easily hear their heavy breathing and snorting.

Those buffalo acted as if they were out for a day of “people watching”.

Who was watching who???

About 2 miles down the road we see another herd of Buffalo. These buffalo were within a couple of feet of the road, but none were on the road.

This group had huge bulls and we saw several momma and babies.  I was so excited; I could have set for hours watching them.  It is thrilling to have the opportunity to be so close to these massive animals.

As we drive through the park we see antelope and deer.   There was also a group of Burros.  Several of the burros were walking down the road, mostly because there were people along the road tempting them with bread and treats.   I found myself getting so angry about people feeding these animals.  There are signs throughout the park saying NOT to feed wildlife.  The deer in the Royal Gorge area were dying of malnutrition because people would feed them bread and so they didn't want to eat their normal diet.

Before today, I had never seen a burro in the wild.
We both love any opportunity to wildlife—so this was a great day.

 There were single lane tunnels along the roads.

After being in awe at all of the wildlife, we start through the Needles area of Custer State Park. It reminded us a little of Garden of the Gods--only with tan/brown rocks instead of the red rocks of Garden of the Gods.

The day was still windy and chilly, but we had packed a picnic and we were both determined to have our picnic.  George pulled a picnic table into the sun and we enjoyed a beautiful picnic beside this lake.

We drove through Deadwood on the way back to the RV.

We also drove through Sturgis.  We were anxious to get home, so we didn’t stop in Deadwood or in Sturgis—but we were glad to have seen both.  Sturgis seemed to be primarily made up of bars, t-shirt stores and motorcycle shops.

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