Thursday, September 16, 2010

Southern Black Hills Tour

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial 9.16.10
This morning we hopped in the car and headed south on 385. It was a relaxing ride with our windows down with a warm breeze blowing around us.

We were on course for Custer State Park when we realized that we had taken a turn for Mt. Rushmore. The road winds, climbs and drops its way through the southern hills until you come up to Mount Rushmore. It was a perfect day for the faces. They glowed against the blue sky. From every perspective they are spectacular. Carved so precisely into the hills.

A burrow foal, Custer State Park 9.16.10
Custer is usually a hotspot for antelopes, bighorn sheep, elk, buffalos and burros but today we had little luck. The antelope were out in force. We saw several groupings of bulls, cows and calfs. The racks on the bulls are beautiful. Black and rigid. This past spring we saw two young bulls play fighting with their racks. It was awesome. There were a few calfs- each one cuter than the last.
Not one buffalo was seen. This was the first time that this has ever happened. We did the whole Wildlife Loop Road and a few offshoots but still didn't see anything. Both Josh and myself were incredibly disappointed but are still hopeful that we can make it there for the Annual Buffalo Round-up on the 27th of September (also Josh's Birthday)!

Heddy Draw Lookout Point, Custer State Park 9.16.10
Though there was a distinct shortage of buffalo we encountered plenty of burros. Fairly aggressive burros at that. There were three burro "encampments" that we had to travel through and in each one both of us had to guard ourselves. They stuck their heads in the windows and poked around for food. Sniffing everything with great intent and lipping most of the surfaces. We were able to scratch there faces and love on them a bit but they were nothing short of demanding.

I was hoping to see a mountain goat or elk but even though it didn't happen it felt incredible just to be on another adventure with Josh.

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