Once again we left our rv park for a ride down the hill. This is the only paved road that leads to all other main roads around the Custer, SD areal. Once again we enjoyed our beautiful surroundings on a beautiful sunny day.
We've noticed the forest destruction caused by a fungus carried by the pine borer. Today we noticed new trees growing where fire burned in 2010.
At the bottom of the hill we turned right (east) on US 16 and entered Custer State Forest. This 71,000 acre, world-class park has one of the nation's largest bison herds. That said, we saw no Bison today. The park offers mountain resorts, camping, fishing scenic drives, several visitor centers, and day and evening programs.
From 16 we turned south on State Highway 87, a wonderfully curvy, hilly road that is part of the Wildlife Loop within the park. Here you have the best chance of seeing bison and other animals.
That's our road in the distance.
We saw prairie dogs, and some antelope far off. These donkeys were the first close animal encounters.
The park encourages visitors to bring carrots to feed to the donkeys. This one just stood in the middle of the road waiting for the next handout.
Love the babies!
Once past the bottleneck we were once again marveling at the constantly changing scenery.
Once a year in the fall the park has a buffalo roundup. The herd is culled by about 500 animals which are sold at public auction.
Part of the corrals
These fences are used to help channel the herds to the corrals.
Second up close encounter.
We alternated all day with hills and valleys, rocks and grasslands.
The loop took us back to US16A. Just at the west edge of the park we got an education.
This sign is actually just outside our rv park, just a few miles from the stockade which we learned about below. These poor souls were killed just a few years before the treaty detailed below.
This treaty ended hostilities for a while. If you read the information below (click to enlarge), it gives the Lakota this land forever. They failed to mention that that meant only if gold was not discovered. Gen. Custer was ordered to lead an expedition there to look for gold, which was found in small quantities.
Illegal prospectors constructed a stockade. They were found and escorted out of the area. They were not prosecuted and quietly returned to their gold hunting.
This was interesting in that it mentioned the mining camps of Custer, Hill City, Keystone and Deadwood. Now they are all tourist towns.
Compare this recreation of the stockade with the one in the second pic above.
These are original cabins.
These are historically correctly constructed new cabins.
Inside each is a stone fireplace and a dirt floor.
Stockade Lake. French Creek flows through this lake and across the park.
We have no ride planned for tomorrow, but something may turn up.
Louise and Duane