Custer State Park and Thereabouts

We’ve been a week without wifi or cell signals.  Good for the soul, not so much for the blog.  Dave and Cindi tipped us off to a great campground in Custer State Park (one of the largest state parks in the nation — and probably the most amazing), the Grace Coolidge Campground.  We had it pretty much to ourselves until the weekend.  It was a great place to settle in and relax.

But we didn’t just relax.  We took the wildlife loop and saw pronghorns, buffalo, wild burros, and prairie dogs.

The Needles Highway offered a great overview of the landscape.  We drove through a tunnel in the rock, climbed up to the Cathedral Spires for great panoramic views, got close to mountain goats, and drove through the Needle Tunnel to see the Needle’s Eye.

On the way back to the campsite, we stopped at Sylvan Lake and took the trail around the lake.  What a picturesque spot!

The next day we headed for the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Not a lot of photos, because the monument was quite a distance away and it was pretty cold — it even snowed a bit.  It was nice to absorb some Native American context in this country that is so alive with their history and spirit.

The next day we took off for Wind Cave National Park.  We saw lots of prairie dogs and took the Rankin Ridge Trail for sweeping views of the prairie.

The next morning it snowed in our campsite, accumulating a bit in our hammock!

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We started getting itchy about heading west before the weather closed in.  But not just yet.  We went to Jewel Cave National Monument and toured the cave, one of the longest in the world.

We also took the Iron Mountain Road, with pigtail bridges and tunnels offering views of Rushmore — and ending up at Rushmore.

On our last day we had Dave and Cindi join us for dinner, preceded by a great hike up to Lovers’ Leap.

And then we left Custer.

Ted has lived in the Black Hills and it’s a very special place for him.  He was excited to show it to me and I was really happy to share in his love for the area.

We’ll leave you with a couple of Custer soundscapes.


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