Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30,2008 Buffalo Chips

Man the phone signal is terrible here at Custer State park and I have a ton of photos to share. There are animals everywhere. There is so much to do it's ridiculous. We got here yesterday at the tail end of the Buffalo Roundup which is a yearly event. The park service rounds up some 1400 head of buffalo for vaccination and auction off all but about 950. These 950 are released back into the park and with the new calves will have a roundup next year. We went to the corrals where the buffalo were being held. Don't ever believe these beasts are slow because you will be mistaken. They are large, short tempered and fast. One of the females with a calf charged me twice as I approached the fence. She meant business. Also there was a very large bull that had no intentions of going in the pin and he gave em hell. They, the workers, chased him all over those hills in trucks and finally hemmed him up and escorted him up into the wilderness. All that after they quickly made us, the tourists, get back in our vehicles for safety. The bull ran right past us and he was some kind of pissed off. He was snorting and grunting and thundered past the car with 6 pickup trucks hot on his heels. Later, we saw him slowly walking down a hill with a truck following him. I think they wanted to make sure he had calmed down and went where he and humans would be safe.
Today we took a road trip on Needles Highway. There are these great spires as the road twists along a winding mountain road. The trees are orange, red and yellow as fall is here. Traffic is minimal. There are many areas to pull off of the road for photographic opportunities. If you have the chance to take the tour allow yourself at least 3 hours. The road is only about 14 miles long but frequent stops for the views will definitely slow you down.
Our next stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial. Awesome place. This monument has been in the making for more than 50 years and will probably not be completed in my lifetime. Crazy Horse was a Lakota Indian who was stabbed and killed by an American soldier while under a flag of truce. He was a defender of his people and the Indian way of life. The memorial is a tribute to American Indians of all tribes and represented by this inspiring work of art. The memorial is being carved out of an entire granite mountain and is entirely funded by visitors to the memorial and donations. It is quite a site to see. Later that night we attended a laser light show at the memorial....my first light show. Very cool indeed. Randy also got to take the helicopter tour around the mountain which he said also included a fly over a herd of buffalo. He loves helicopters.

We stayed in a little one room cabin in the park. It was very comfortable except for showers and bathroom facilities we had to go to a main bath house. It's cold as hell in South Dakota at 3 AM but man the stars are big, bright, look close to the ground and there has to be a million of them.

No comments: