Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 10-12/ Custer State Resort Park, SD

Custer State Resort Park, SD

This is such a beautiful place, it’s hard to decide what to talk about first! Custer State Park is in the middle of the Black Hills of SD. It borders Wind Cave National Park, and is surrounded by other state and national nature areas. It’s miles and miles of black hills, mountains, prairies and meadows, rock formations, lakes and streams, and on a clear day, from the top of one of the many peaks, you can see the badlands which are about 200 miles away. The park is full of wildlife such as buffalo, bighorn sheep, antelope, deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, and even mountain lions.

We hiked a few small trails and then did a strenuous 3. 5 mile trail that took us to the peak of Lover’s Leap mountain and then back down to the valley where we crossed streams 11 times (according to the kids who count stuff like that), and by the end of our hike, we were worn out! Especially since we did not bring a trail map with us and made a wrong turn which added another ½ mile to our hike. So it was really a 4 miler on our first day. But it was fun and beautiful and good exercise and that’s what this trip is about!

During our visit to Custer, we went swimming, visited Mt. Rushmore, took a jeep ride through areas of the park not normally assessable by car, panned for gold in the park steams, toured the Mammoth Site, and hung out at the camp site. The campsite was nice, but rustic. We had electricity, but no water. Getting into the site was a bit tricky since the area is heavily wooded. But I am getting much better at backing up. Somewhere along the way I took all the internet advice, the "back up” tips, the recommendations from Lloyd, and the mirror methods, and I tossed all that out the window. I now rely on sticking my head out the window and yelling at Garrett and that seems to work best!

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