Sunday, January 15, 2012

THE Trip, Custer State Park, Wildlife Loop

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

It is July 2, 2011.  We return to Custer State Park, the weather is much more favorable, although this entire week will be filled with bouts of rain and thunder and even a horrific hail storm.  We were away during the hail storm, in fact by the time we returned to the park the icy evidence of the storm had melted away.  There were, however, some hints at the fierceness of the storm and the size of the hail.  One hint, there were a lot of pine needles and small branches on the ground, many more than when we left earlier in the day.  Seeing that the ground always has a lot of pine needles laying around, you can guess that if I could see that there were more deposited it must have been a significant amount, and, it was!  LOL  The next hint for us was the fact that our sewer hose was damaged, well, in fact, ruined.  The hail had left it full of holes.  I will leave it to your imagination as to how this was discovered and who had to deal with it, let's just say he did not enjoy the clean up.  EWWW.  He looked around at the roof and awnings and could not find any damage, which was amazing, as other vehicles in the park had lots of dent marks.  Those pines that made for our close parking and shoehorning of Tana into the campsite must have protected us from all that hail.

The thunder was rather amazing.  It would start and just go on for hours and hours.  It was what I call "rolling thunder".  It was almost as if you could hear it rolling across the skies, like bowling balls in heaven's bowling alley.  Rumble, roll, rumble, roll.  At our stick built in SE Michigan we don't have rolling thunder very often, we have crack, bang, boom thunder.  The lightening hits, crack, then we hear the thunder, boom, gone.  The next hit of lightening does the same, crack, then the thunder, boom, and it is over.  Usually there are a few minutes, or at least a few seconds between the sounds.  There must be something about the hills in and around Custer, the Black Hills, as we heard rolling thunder several different times.  It is rather amazing, for the first hour or so.  I have to say, after about 6 hours, though, it was getting rather old.  LOL

So, let's look at our map again:

We will start again from the west, at Custer and drive east.  However, today's ride will turn south near the Legion Lake Campground and we will drive the Wildlife Loop Road (not all of the road is shown on this map, trust me, it joins and it is a loop).  Another day we will actually drive the loop again (in search of prairie dogs, what else??) but, from the opposite direction.

The beginning of our drive shows off the beauty of the Black Hills:

And, the some of the stars of the Wildlife Loop are, prairie dogs:

Below:  Having seen the bison up close and personal,  with lots of babies, and walking the line, back in Yellowstone National Park, we were just as happy as could be to find this herd way off the road and resting, quietly.

Another beautiful view of the Black Hills, along the Wildlife Loop.

Below:  These guys were traffic stoppers, and if you want to really see what show stoppers they were, take a little side trip over to Reflection's Flora and Fauna, our RVer friends really like the last photo.

More beautiful rolling hills, it was such a peaceful drive:

We were in wildlife heaven, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep:

After leaving the Wildlife Loop, we would drive east on 16A till we came to the intersection of 87,  part of the Needles Highway.  Here we would turn north and Man would turn white and green and white again.  I'll show and tell you all about it real soon - -



Susan Clark said...

Spectacular! Not sure why, but I especially love the photos with the roads in them. And the donkey!

Marti said...

What a great trip! I've never seen antelope before. What a thrill it must have been to see a herd of buffalo.

Carol said...

The donkeys were cute, did you follow the link over to Flora and Fauna?? Same photo PLUS a bunch more, some look like they are kissing, and that lady! WOOT.

I like the photos with the roads too, add some perspective and dimension.

Carol said...

Marti, it was a great trip, like I suggested to Susan, be sure to follow the other links if you have not done so, there are several most posts full of bison, as well as my story of what NOT to do at Yellowstone! Snicker.

Susan said...

How lucky you are! Maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to explore our big beautiful country the way you are doing!

Michelle Goodrum said...

Your trip just keeps getting better and better! Well except maybe for the damaged sewer hose. Ewwww is right.

Barbara Poole said...

Oh how I would have loved this ride. I've never seen so many baby bison, so sweet. Boy, you kept that a secret. #3 and #8 look like New England!

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

Beautiful country! Now I want to visit!

Carol said...

Susan, we dreamed of this life style and trip for well over 30 years, we ARE lucky! I appreciate it every single day!

Carol said...

Ya, that sewer hose was not fun.

I was quite taken with the Black Hills, not as dramatic as some of the other parks and things we have been seeing, but, truly beautiful.

Carol said...

Barb, I think you would have enjoyed the ride. I know I did, of course, I was not driving so I got to really enjoy! LOL

Carol said...

Debbie, you should visit.